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					         FIXING TO STAY

A NATIONAL SURVEY OF HOUSING
AND HOME MODIFICATION ISSUES


                         May 2000


            Ada-Helen Bayer, Ph.D., AARP Research Group
     Leon Harper, AARP Programs/Applied Gerontology Group


  Fielded by Mathew Greenwald and Associates, Washington, D.C.
AARP is the nation’s leading organization for people age 50 and older. It serves their
needs and interests through information and education, research, advocacy, and community
services that are provided by a network of local chapters and experienced volunteers
throughout the country. The organization also offers members a wide range of special
benefits and services, including Modern Maturity magazine and the monthly Bulletin.




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                     AARP Independent Living Program, 601 E Street, NW
                                 Washington, D.C. 20049
                                      202-434-3980




         http://www.aarp.org       http://research.aarp.org    http://www.aarp.org/week2000
                                             TABLE OF CONTENTS


INTRODUCTION                                                                                                                                    1

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY                                                                                                                               3

    CURRENT HOUSING ...............................................................................................................3

    PLANS .......................................................................................................................................4

    GETTING AROUND THE HOME.............................................................................................4

    HOME MODIFICATIONS.........................................................................................................5

    HOUSING-RELATED FINANCIAL ISSUES ............................................................................7

    MINORITY DIFFERENCES......................................................................................................7

PROFILE OF SURVEY RESPONDENTS                                                                                                                   9

DETAILED REPORT OF FINDINGS                                                                                                                   13

    CURRENT HOUSING ............................................................................................................. 13

               TYPE OF CURRENT RESIDENCE ............................................................................ 13
               RESIDENCE CHARACTERISTICS............................................................................ 15
               HOME OWNERSHIP .................................................................................................. 16
               HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION .................................................................................. 18
               RESIDENTIAL STABILITY ....................................................................................... 21

    PLANS ..................................................................................................................................... 24

               DESIRE TO REMAIN IN CURRENT RESIDENCE ................................................... 24
               EXPECTED CHANGE IN RESIDENCE ..................................................................... 25
               RESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE IF NEEDED CARE ................................................... 27

    GETTING AROUND THE HOME........................................................................................... 28

               CURRENT MOBILITY PROBLEMS .......................................................................... 28
               EXPECTATION OF FUTURE MOBILITY PROBLEMS............................................ 30
    HOME MODIFICATIONS....................................................................................................... 32

              CONCERNS ABOUT HOME MODIFICATION ......................................................... 32
              ABILITY TO MAKE HOME MODIFICATIONS ........................................................ 33
              SIMPLE HOME MODIFICATIONS............................................................................ 34
              MAJOR HOME MODIFICATIONS ............................................................................ 37
              THE HOME MODIFICATION PROCESS .................................................................. 39
              EFFECT OF HOME MODIFICATIONS ..................................................................... 41
              REASONS FOR HOME MODIFICATIONS ............................................................... 42
              ADDITIONAL HOME MODIFICATIONS.................................................................. 43
              REASONS FOR NOT MAKING MODIFICATIONS .................................................. 46
              INTEREST IN INFORMATION ABOUT HOME MODIFICATION........................... 48
              MODIFICATION FEATURES IN NEW HOMES ....................................................... 49
              SUPPORT FOR LEGISLATION REGARDING
                  HOME MODIFICATION FEATURES ................................................................... 50

    HOUSING-RELATED FINANCIAL ISSUES .......................................................................... 51

              REFINANCING HOMES............................................................................................. 51
              REVERSE MORTGAGES ........................................................................................... 52

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS                                                                                                     55

APPENDIX A: METHODOLOGY AND WEIGHTING PROCEDURES                                                                          A-1

APPENDIX B: ANNOTATED QUESTIONNAIRE                                                                                       B-1
                                      INTRODUCTION

This report presents the results of a national telephone survey of Americans age 45 and over
conducted by Greenwald and Associates, Inc., on behalf of AARP. The study examines the
opinions and behavior of older Americans regarding their current and future housing situations,
with an emphasis on home modifications that enable people to remain independent and that increase
the safety and convenience of their home.

The 2000 survey is the fifth in a series of AARP “Understanding Senior Housing” Studies. The
survey populations have expanded gradually over the course of these studies. The 1986 survey
polled people age 60 and over, the 1989 and 1992 surveys included people age 55 and over, and
the 1996 survey questioned those age 50 and over. The 2000 survey is based on interviews with
persons who are age 45 and over, to capture the opinions of the “baby boomer” age group.

Greenwald and Associates, in conjunction with AARP’s Housing Project team and AARP’s
Research Group, developed the questionnaire for the 2000 survey. Respondents were asked about
their current housing situation, housing preferences, difficulty getting around the house, concerns
about being able to remain in their home, modifying their home, changes they have made or would
like to make to their home, reasons for making those modifications, and reasons for not having
made home modifications. Some of these substantive questions were repeated from previous
surveys to make comparisons and examine trends. A series of questions was also asked to gather
demographic characteristics about the respondents.

National Research, LLC, interviewed 2,000 people for an average of 20 minutes per interview in
November and December 1999. Households were selected using a nationwide random digit dialing
sample purchased from Survey Sampling, Inc. (Persons living in assisted living facilities were
omitted from the final sample.) The data have been weighted by age and gender to reflect the
national population of Americans age 45 and over. (The weighting applied to the survey data was
designed to retain methodological consistency for longitudinal reporting. A detailed explanation of
this strategy appears in Appendix A.)

Additional oversamples of 150 African Americans and 150 Hispanics were also interviewed to
allow separate analysis of these minority groups. Respondents from the oversample were combined
with African American and Hispanic respondents from the national cross section to obtain a total
minority sample of 516. Within the minority sample, respondents were weighted by age, gender,
and race to reflect the national population of African Americans and Hispanics age 45 and over.
This sample is used to examine differences among minorities.
The margin of error for this study (at the 95% confidence level) is plus or minus 2 percentage
points for questions asked of all 2,000 respondents. Subgroup responses have larger margins of
error, depending on the size of the subgroup. For example, the sample of 516 minority respondents
has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Following this introduction, we provide an executive summary, a profile of the survey respondents,
and a detailed report of findings for each question asked on the survey. Detailed results are broken
out by selected demographic and behavioral characteristics where there are significant differences
between groups.1 Where possible, responses from those age 55 and over are also compared with
the results of previous studies.

Appendix A details the survey methodology and the procedures used to weight the results.
Appendix B presents an annotated version of the survey questionnaire.




1   Differences in percentages are significant at the .05 level, meaning 95 out of 100 times, a difference of
    this size would not have occurred by chance.




                                                                                                                2
                                 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The 2000 “Fixing to Stay” study is the fifth in a series of telephone surveys that AARP has
sponsored since 1986. The studies examine the opinions and behavior of older Americans
regarding their current and future housing situations. The 2000 study differs in several ways from
earlier ones:

•   The survey population now includes people age 45 and over to capture the opinions of the
    “baby boom” age group.

•   The survey sample now includes oversamples of African Americans and Hispanics to allow
    more detailed analyses of the housing needs and preferences of these groups.

•   The survey questionnaire now devotes more attention to home modifications that enable people
    to remain independent and increase the safety and convenience of their home.

CURRENT HOUSING

•   The large majority of Americans age 45 and over live in single-family residences: 77 percent
    live in single-family detached homes, 8 percent live in mobile homes, and 5 percent occupy
    semidetached homes. Nine percent report living in multiunit buildings, such as apartment
    buildings.

•   Forty-two percent of survey participants who live in dwellings other than multiunit buildings
    reside in homes with two or more levels. Eighty-eight percent of respondents now say they
    have a bathroom on the first floor of their home.

•   Home ownership among Americans age 55 and over is at its highest level since these studies
    began in 1986. Eighty-six percent of these respondents own their home.

•   People age 45 and over generally share their home with at least one other person. Forty-eight
    percent live with one other person, 12 percent live with two other people, and 11 percent with
    three or more other people. However, 28 percent of respondents live alone.

•   Those respondents who share their home are most likely to live with a spouse (77%), but 29
    percent live with children or stepchildren. Small percentages report that grandchildren (4%),
    parents or spouse’s parents (3%), other relatives (3%), and nonrelatives (3%) live with them.

•   Among those age 55 and over who share a home with at least one other person, the percentage
    living with a spouse has decreased from 89 percent in 1989 to 79 percent in 2000.


                                                                                                     3
•   Americans age 45 and over tend not to move frequently. Approximately three in five have lived
    in their current home for 11 or more years (23% for 11 to 20 years, 17% for 21 to 30 years,
    and 19% for more than 30 years). On the other hand, 20 percent have lived in their current
    residence for between one and five years, and 5 percent have lived there less than a year.

•   Respondents who moved report doing so for many reasons. Of those who have moved within
    the past five years, 13 percent mention moving to a better location or neighborhood, and 10
    percent cite a job change as the main reason for moving. Eight percent say they moved because
    they wanted a larger home, while 7 percent each cite retirement, wanting a smaller place, and
    wanting to be closer to family.

PLANS

•   Most Americans age 45 and over say they would like to remain in their current residence for as
    long as possible. In fact, 71 percent of respondents strongly agree, and an additional 12
    percent somewhat agree that they want to stay in their current residence as long as possible.

•   The percentage of respondents age 55 and over who strongly or somewhat agree that they
    would like to remain in their current residence for as long as possible has increased significantly
    since the question was last asked in 1992 (84% in 1992; 89% in 2000).

•   Sixty-three percent of survey participants believe that their current residence is where they will
    always live. Among those who do not, 29 percent say they have already made plans for where
    they will live in the future, while the remainder say they have not made such plans.

•   If they need help caring for themselves, most respondents would prefer not to move from their
    current home (82%). Only a few express a preference for moving to a facility where care is
    provided (9%) or for moving to a relative’s home (4%).

GETTING AROUND THE HOME

•   Eight percent of survey participants report that they, or a member of their household, have
    difficulty getting around their home. Of this group, 62 percent indicate that they themselves
    have difficulty, 24 percent say their spouse has difficulty, and 7 percent report a parent has
    difficulty getting around their home. Sixty-three percent claim this person has difficulty often,
    while 25 percent indicate the person sometimes has difficulty.



•   Of the homes in which someone has difficulty getting around:


                                                                                                         4
    Ø The functional problem most commonly reported is difficulty climbing up and down stairs
      (35%). Other frequently mentioned problems include difficulty walking or lack of mobility
      (15%) and specific problems with knees, hips, legs, or arthritis (15%).

    Ø Respondents most frequently attribute difficulty to arthritis (25%); however, some cite back
      problems (13%) and knee problems or knee replacements (9%).

•   Among all respondents age 45 and over, nearly one in four expect that they, or a member of
    their household, will experience problems getting around their home within the next five years
    (8% very likely; 15% somewhat likely).

HOME MODIFICATIONS

•   Approximately three in ten Americans age 45 and over say they are very or somewhat
    concerned about:
    Ø Having a home in which friends or family who may have disabilities can get around (31%)
    Ø Being forced to move to a nursing home because they have trouble getting around their
      own home (31%)
    Ø Being able to afford home modifications that will enable them to remain at home (30%)
    Ø Having problems using features in their home as they get older (29%)
    Ø Finding reliable contractors or handymen, should they need to modify their home (28%)
    Ø Being able to provide care for a parent or relative (27%)

•   Most respondents (86%) have made at least one simple change to their home to make it easier
    for them to live there. Respondents most frequently report having installed nightlights (63%),
    non-skid strips in the bathtub or shower (50%), and higher wattage light bulbs (32%).
    Somewhat fewer have lever faucet knobs (25%), a telephone with large numbers and letters
    (22%), carpets and rugs secured with double-sided tape (20%), an emergency response system
    (15%), lever doorknobs (14%), and non-slip strips on their stairs (12%).

•   Of the 76 percent of respondents who are permitted to modify their homes, 70 percent say they
    have made at least one major modification to make it easier for them as they get older. These
    respondents most commonly indicate having installed light switches at the top and bottom of
    dark stairwells (40%). Just over one-third (34%) have made changes or modifications to their
    home that would allow them to live on the first floor. Twenty-five percent have handrails on
    both sides of their steps or stairs, and 23 percent have handrails or grab bars in their bathroom
    for better balance.




                                                                                                     5
•   Ninety percent of the respondents have made at least one simple change or major modification
    to their home. Of these respondents, most say they (65%) and/or their spouse (25%) made the
    decision to modify their home. Respondents most frequently indicate that the home
    modification(s) was their own idea (50%) and are most likely to have financed the change(s) as
    an out-of-pocket cost or household expense (62%). Respondents generally say they or their
    spouse did the work themselves (48%), although home repair companies or contractors (16%),
    friends or relatives (14%), and handymen (13%) are also cited.

•   Sixty-seven percent of respondents who have made home modifications think that those
    changes will allow them, or others, to live in their home longer than they would have been able
    to otherwise. Of this group, three-fourths (75%) believe the modifications will enable them to
    live in their home for another ten years or more.

•   Safety is most often cited as a reason for making home modifications. Seventy percent of
    respondents who have made changes say they made them so their home will have better safety
    features. A large percentage of respondents also say the reasons for making these changes
    were: to make the home easier to use by all members of the family (65%), to increase the ability
    to live independently (60%), to provide flexibility to adapt to the changing needs of family
    members (55%), and to upgrade or modernize the home (55%).

•   When asked why they have not modified their home, or have not modified it as much as they
    would have liked, respondents most often cite not being able to do it themselves (37%) and not
    being able to afford it (36%). Other frequently selected reasons include: not trusting home
    contractors (29%), not knowing how to make the changes (25%), not having anyone to do it
    for them (23%), and not knowing how to find a good home contractor or company that
    modifies homes (22%).

•   More than half of Americans age 45 and over (52%) express interest in receiving information
    about staying in their own home as they get older. Thirty-two percent are interested in
    receiving information about avoiding home repair or home modification fraud, and 28 percent
    indicate interest in information about types of home modification.

•   Sixty-six percent of Americans age 45 and over say they would support their state passing
    legislation requiring that more homes be built with the home modification features discussed in
    the survey (37% strongly support; 29% somewhat support).




                                                                                                      6
HOUSING-RELATED FINANCIAL ISSUES

•     Twenty-seven percent of survey participants who own their home report having refinanced or
      taken out a mortgage on it in the past ten years. Of those who have refinanced their home, 35
      percent used the loan for home maintenance or repairs, and 25 percent used the money for
      home modifications.

•     Slightly over half of all respondents (51%) maintain they have heard of a reverse mortgage. Of
      those who have, only one percent of homeowners have a reverse mortgage, and six percent
      know someone who has one. About one in five respondents (19%) say that this is an idea they
      might consider in the future.

MINORITY DIFFERENCES

In most areas, the results of the national crossection survey2 and the minority oversample (African
Americans and Hispanics) are very similar. Among the more important differences, however, are
the following:

•     Minorities are more likely than the national sample to live in a multiunit building (18% versus
      9%), yet fewer live in a mobile home (3% versus 8%).

•     Home ownership is lower among minorities (70%) than among the national sample (85%).
      Perhaps because of this, minorities are less likely to say they are permitted to make changes or
      modifications to make it easier for them to live in their homes in as they grow older (67%
      versus 76%).

•     Minority respondents are more likely to live with children or stepchildren (44% minorities
      versus 29% national sample) and are less apt to live with a spouse (58% versus 77%).

•     Minority respondents are less likely to strongly or somewhat agree that they want to stay in
      their current residence for as long as possible (78% minorities versus 84% national sample).

•     Among those who have refinanced their home or taken out a mortgage against their home,
      minorities are more likely to say they did so to obtain funds for home maintenance or repairs
      (50% minorities versus 35% national sample).




2   The national crosssection sample includes African American and Hispanic respondents.



                                                                                                         7
•   Minority respondents are less likely than the national sample to have heard of a reverse
    mortgage (31% versus 51%).

•   Minorities are more likely than the national sample to be very or somewhat concerned about
    each of the following:
    Ø Being able to afford home modifications that would enable them to remain at home (44%
      versus 30%)
    Ø Having a home in which friends or family who may have disabilities can get around (42%
      versus 31%)
    Ø Being able to continue using features in their home as they grow older (42% versus 29%)
    Ø Finding reliable contractors or handymen, should respondents need to modify their home
      (41% versus 28%)
    Ø Being able to provide care for a parent or relative in their (the respondent’s) home (40%
      versus 27%)
    Ø Finding information about home modification (34% versus 21%)
    Ø Being forced to move to another residence because they have trouble getting around their
      home (31% versus 25%)

•   Minorities are more likely than the national sample to be very or somewhat interested in
    receiving information about:
    Ø   Staying in their own home as they get older (63% versus 52%)
    Ø   Avoiding home repair or home modification fraud (47% versus 32%)
    Ø   Types of home modifications (44% versus 28%)
    Ø   Finding reliable home improvement contractors (42% versus 21%)
    Ø   Learning the facts about a reverse mortgage (40% versus 20%)
    Ø   Financing home modifications (39% versus 17%)




                                                                                                  8
                          PROFILE OF SURVEY RESPONDENTS

        Table 1 describes the demographic characteristics of the survey respondents and compares
them with the 1997 and 1998 U.S. Census Bureau estimates from the “Current Population Survey”
(CPS).3 For these comparisons, survey respondents answering do not know or refusing to answer a
particular demographic question were omitted from the base used to calculate the percentages for
that measure. The age and gender of survey respondents closely match the population estimates
from the Census Bureau, due to weighting. The 2000 “Fixing to Stay” data are not weighted by
other demographic characteristics, but the respondent characteristics (with the exception of
education) resemble the Census Bureau estimates.

        One in ten survey respondents has not completed high school, more than three in ten have
graduated from high school, and one-fourth have some college or technical school beyond high
school. Nearly two in ten have graduated from a college, and 14 percent have a graduate or
professional degree. When compared to the Census Bureau estimates, the survey respondent pool
includes a disproportionately large number of people with college degrees and post-graduate
degrees, while people who have not completed high school are underrepresented. Younger
respondents tend to have higher levels of education than do older respondents. Thirty-nine percent
of those age 45 to 55 have college or post-graduate degrees compared to 22 percent of those age
75 and over. Conversely, 6 percent of those age 45 to 54 have not completed high school,
compared to 18 percent of those age 75 and over.

        A majority of respondents are under age 65; almost four in ten are age 45 to 54 and one-
fourth are age 55 to 64. Two in ten respondents are age 65 to 74, over one in ten are age 75 to 84,
and four percent are age 85 or over. Women (55%) outnumber men (45%). Although the
percentages of male (48%) and female (52%) respondents are roughly equal among those under
age 65, 59 percent of those age 65 and over are women and 41 percent are men.

        Compared to the Census Bureau estimates, the sample slightly underrepresents married
people. Sixty-two percent of the respondents are married, compared to the Census Bureau
population estimate of 67 percent. Eighteen percent of the sample are widowed, 14 percent are
divorced or separated, and 6 percent have never married. Those under age 65 (69%) are more
likely those age 65 and over (50%) to be married, and they are less likely than those age 65 and
over to be widowed (5% versus 39%). In addition, those age 45 to 54 are more likely than older




3   U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Surveys, 1997 and 1998.

                                                                                                   9
respondents to have never married (11% versus 3%). Sixty-nine percent of the spouses of married
respondents are under age 65.

Table 1: Profile of 2000 Survey Respondents and Comparison to Census Estimates
                                                                        Census        Survey
                                                                       Estimatea   Respondentsb
                                                                           %            %

Agec                     45 – 54 years                                     38          38
                         55 – 64 years                                     25          25
                         65 – 74 years                                     19          19
                         75 – 84 years                                     13          13
                         85 years and over                                  4           4

Genderc                  Male                                              46          45
                         Female                                            54          55

Marital Status           Married                                           67          62
                         Widowed                                           15          18
                         Divorced/separated                                12          14
                         Single, never married                              6           6

Education                Not high school graduate                          23          11
                         High school graduate                              34          32
                         Some college/technical school                     21          25
                         College graduate                                  13          18
                         Graduate/professional degree                       9          14

Employment Status        Employed full- or part-time                      50           51
                         Unemployed                                         2            2
                         Retired and not working                          n/a          41
                         Homemaker                                        n/a            6
                         Not in labor force                               48           n/a

Household Income         Less than $8,000                                   9           3
                         $8,000 to $11,999                                  7           6
                         $12,000 to $19,999                                14          16
                         $20,000 to $27,999                                12          13
                         $28,000 to $35,999                                 9          13
                         $36,000 to $43,999                                 8           9
                         $44,000 or more                                   41          40

a
  Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Surveys, 1997 and 1998.
b
  These tables exclude refusals and don’t know responses.
c
  Study data are weighted by age and gender.
n/a denotes data not available for this variable/category.


                                                                                                  10
Table 1 (continued)
Profile of 2000 Survey Respondents and Comparison to Census Estimates

                                                                   Census               Survey
                                                                  Estimate            Respondents
                                                                     %                    %

Hispanic Origin            Yes                                        6                     3
                           No                                        94                    97

Race                       White                                     87                    90
                           African American                           9                     7
                           Asian                                      3                     *
                           Other                                      1                     2

AARP Member                Yes                                      n/a                    49
                           No                                       n/a                    51

*denotes less than 0.5%.
 Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Surveys, 1997 and 1998, and Fixing to Stay,
2000



       Half of the respondents are employed (42% full-time; 8% part-time) and two percent are
unemployed and looking for work. Most of the remainder are retired and not working, but a
handful describe themselves as homemakers. As expected, employment status is strongly related to
age. Seventy-six percent of respondents age 45 to 54, 44 percent of those age 55 to 64, but just 5
percent of those age 65 and over are employed full-time.

         Few of those interviewed for this study report annual household incomes of less than
$12,000. One in six respondents indicate having a household income between $12,000 and
$19,999, roughly one in eight has an annual household income between $20,000 and $27,999, the
same proportion has an annual income between $28,000 and $35,999, and one in ten has an annual
income between $36,000 and $43,999. Four in ten report an annual household income of $44,000
or more. Compared to the Census Bureau estimates, households with annual incomes of less than
$12,000 are underrepresented in this study, while those with incomes of $12,000 to $35,999 are
slightly overrepresented.

       Older respondents tend to have lower annual household incomes than younger respondents.
While there are only minimal differences at the very lowest income categories, those age 65 and
over (26%) are more likely than those under age 65 (11%) to have annual household incomes of



                                                                                                     11
$12,000 to $20,000. They are less likely to have incomes of $44,000 or more (50% under age 65;
22% age 65 and over).

        Of the national sample, nine in ten survey participants describe themselves as white. Just a
few are African American, American Indian, or Asian. Respondents age 45 to 54 are less likely
than those age 55 and over to describe themselves as white (88% versus 92%) and are more likely
to say they are African American (10% versus 6%). Based on the Census Bureau estimates,
Hispanics are somewhat underrepresented in the national sample.

        Half of the respondents report that they or someone else in their household are members of
AARP. Those age 65 to 74 are among the most likely to report membership (75%), while those
with annual household incomes less than $12,000 are among the least likely (33%). Since the
minimum age for AARP membership is 50, respondents age 45 to 54 (25%) are also less likely to
report household membership in AARP.




                                                                                                   12
                               DETAILED REPORT OF FINDINGS


CURRENT HOUSING

Type of Current Residence

        The large majority of Americans age 45 and over live in single-family residences. More than
three-fourths of respondents report living in a single-family detached home, while fewer than one in ten
each say they live in a semidetached home (for example, a townhouse or a duplex) or in a mobile home.
One in ten resides in a multiunit building, such as an apartment building, and less than one percent
indicate they live in some other type of housing (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Type of Housing


Among those age 45 and over (n=2,000)

                                                  Semi-detached home
                                                          5%
                                                              Mobile home
                                                                  8%

                                                                     Multi-unit building
                                                                            9%

                                                                            Other
                                                                            <.5%
                      Detached home
                           77%




Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000



        These distributions have changed little over the past 13 years. Single-family detached homes have
remained the dominant type of housing for adults age 55 and over since the first wave of this study in
1986. The only significant changes occurred between 1986 and 1989. The percentage of those age 55
and over living in a single-family detached home increased from 70 percent to 76 percent, and the figure
for those living in “other” types of housing fell from 7 percent to 1 percent (see Table 2).



                                                                                                           13
Table 2: Type of Housing: 1986 to 2000


Among respondents age 55 and over
                                                1986†           1989       1992        1996        2000
                                                  %              %          %           %           %
                                              (n=1,500)      (n=1,511)   (n=1,503)   (n=1,026)   (n=1,204)

Single-family detached home                      70             76         75          74          77
Multiunit building                               10             13         12          12          10
Mobile home                                       7               6          6           6           7
Semi-detached home                                6               5          6           7           5
Other                                             7               1          *           1           *
† The population surveyed in 1986 included only those age 60 and over.
* Less than 0.5%

Source: Understanding Senior Housing, 1986, 1989, 1992, and 1996, and Fixing to Stay, 2000



        Among the 2000 survey population, residence in single-family detached homes peaks between the
ages of 55 and 64 (82%), while respondents age 75 and over (70%) are less likely than younger
respondents (78%) to live in this type of housing. Not surprisingly, residence in detached homes is also
strongly related to income. Eighty-six percent of respondents with annual household incomes of $44,000
or more and 81 percent of those with incomes of $28,000 to $43,999 live in a detached home, compared
to 58 percent of those with incomes less than $12,000. Respondents with college (83%) and post-
graduate (86%) degrees are more likely than those who have not graduated from college (73%), and
married respondents (85%) are more likely than those who are not married (63%) to live in a single-
family detached home. African Americans (64%) and survey participants living in the Northeast (68%) or
West (72%) are less apt than the sample as a whole (77%) to reside in a detached home.

       Residence in multiunit buildings (9%), mobile homes (8%), and semi-detached homes (5%) varies
by a number of demographic characteristics. The likelihood of living in a mobile home decreases as
annual household income (21% less than $12,000; 14% $12,000 to $19,999; 11% $20,000 to $27,999;
8% $28,000 to $43,999; 2% $44,000 or more) and education (20% not high school graduate; 10% high
school graduate; 5% some college; 4% college degree; 2% post-graduate degree) increase. Similarly,
respondents with incomes of less than $28,000 (14%) are more likely than those with household incomes
of $28,000 or more (6%) to live in a multiunit building, and those without a college degree (11%) are
also more likely than those with a college or post graduate degree (6%) to live in a multiunit building.



                                                                                                          14
        Survey participants from the Northeast are most likely to live in a multiunit building (16% versus
8%) or semidetached home (10% versus 4%), while those from the West (11%), Southwest (9%), and
Southeast (9%) are more likely than those from the Northeast (5%) and Midwest (5%) to live in a mobile
home. Minorities are more apt than the sample as a whole to live in a multiunit building (18% versus 9%)
and less apt to live in a mobile home (3% versus 8%). Women are slightly more likely than men (11 %
versus 8%) to report living in a multiunit building.

Residence Characteristics

        The number of levels in a home can substantially influence whether someone can get around the
home easily. Almost three in five of the survey participants who live in a home other than a multiunit
building reside in a single-level dwelling. Among the 42 percent who live in a home with two or more
levels, most indicate they have a bathroom on the first floor of their home (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Number of Levels in Homes


Among those age 45 and over not living in multiunit buildings
                                      Number of Levels                  Bathroom on
                                         (n=1,813)                       First Floor
                                                                          (n=762)


                                                          Two or more
                                                            levels
                                                             42%
                                                                                       Yes
               Single level                                                            88%
                  58%



                                                                                        No
                                                                                       12%



Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000



         Among respondents living in a home other than a multiunit building, the likelihood of living in a
multilevel residence increases with education and household income. Fifty-nine percent of post-graduates
live in a residence with two or more levels (compared to 27% of those who have not graduated from high
school), as do 54 percent of respondents with annual household incomes of $44,000 or more (compared
to 28 % with incomes less than $12,000). Additionally, survey participants from the Northeast (68%)


                                                                                                         15
and Midwest (54%) are more likely than those from other regions (34% Southeast; 31% West; 24%
Southwest) to report living in a multilevel residence. Conversely, unmarried respondents (64%) and
Hispanics (71%) are more likely than married respondents (55%) and the national sample overall (58%)
to reside in a home with a single level.

        Among Americans age 45 and over living in multilevel, single-family residences, the likelihood of
having a bathroom on the first floor is lower in the Northeast than in most other regions. Eighty-three
percent of those living in the Northeast report having a bathroom on the first floor, compared to 90
percent of those in the Midwest, 92 percent in the Southwest, and 94 percent in the West. Just 74
percent of African Americans living in multilevel, single-family residences indicate they have a bathroom
on the first floor of their home compared to 88 percent in the national sample.

Home Ownership

        Because home owners are more likely than renters to be able to modify their home to make it
easier to live in as they age, high (and growing) home ownership among older Americans is a positive
indicator that individuals are increasingly likely to be able to make many types of home modifications.

       The large majority of respondents (85%) own their home. Fourteen percent say they rent their
home, and an additional one percent own a mobile home and rent the space it rests on. Very few
respondents report they occupy their home without payment or rent (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Home Ownership Status


Among those age 45 and over (n=2,000)
                                                      Own mobile home,
                                                         rent space
                                                            1%
                                                                    Rent
                                                                    14%
                                                                        Occupy without
                                                                       payment or rent
                                                                            <.5%

                                                                          Don't know/ refused
                               Own                                               <.5%
                               85%




Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000




                                                                                                          16
       Home ownership is at its highest level since the study was first conducted in 1986. In that year,
79 percent of respondents age 60 and over reported owning their home. Home ownership among those
55 and over grew to 84 percent in 1992 before dropping to 80 percent in 1996. In the 2000 survey,
however, 86 percent of respondents age 55 and over indicate they own their home. Conversely, the
proportion of respondents reporting they rent their home has dropped from 19 percent in 1986 to 12
percent in 2000 (see Table 3).

Table 3: Home Ownership Status: 1986 to 2000†


Among respondents age 55 and over
                                                1986‡           1989       1992        1996        2000
                                                  %              %          %           %           %
                                              (n=1,500)      (n=1,511)   (n=1,503)   (n=1,026)   (n=1,204)

Own                                              79             82         84          80          86
Rent                                             19             17         15          16          12
Own mobile home, rent space                        -              -          -           2           1
Occupy without payment or rent                     -              1          1           2           *
Don’t know/refused                                2               *          *           *           *
† Not all response categories were available in all years.
‡ The population surveyed in 1986 included only those age 60 and over.
* Less than 0.5%.

Source: Understanding Senior Housing, 1986, 1989, 1992, and 1996, and Fixing to Stay, 2000



        As could be expected, home ownership increases sharply with income. Ninety-two percent of
those with annual household incomes of $44,000 or more own their home, compared to 66 percent of
those with annual household incomes of less than $12,000. Home ownership peaks between the ages of
55 and 64 (88%). Home ownership is higher among married respondents (92% married versus 73%
unmarried) and AARP members (88% members versus 81% nonmembers). It is lower among those
living in the Northeast (78% versus 86% in other regions) and minorities (70% versus 85% in the total
sample).




                                                                                                          17
Household Composition

        The presence of others in the home may provide an important source of companionship and
support as people grow older. Most Americans age 45 and over (71%) share their home with at least one
other person. Almost half report that, including themselves, two people live in their household. More
than one in ten live in a three-person household and a similar proportion live in a household containing
four or more people. However, more than one-fourth of adults age 45 and over live alone (see Figure 4).

Figure 4: Number of Persons in Household



Among respondents age 45 and over (n=2,000)
                                                             Three
                                                              12%


                                                                      Four or more
                                                                         11%
                               Two
                               48%                                      Refused
                                                                          1%




                                                                 One (live alone)
                                                                      28%



Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000



       Household size among respondents age 55 and over has not changed significantly since 1992.
Between 1989 and 1992, however, the percentage in this age category living alone increased from 28
percent to 35 percent, while the percentage living with only one other person fell from 58 percent to 52
percent (see Table 4).




                                                                                                           18
Table 4: Number of Persons in Household


Among respondents age 55 and over
                                             1989              1992             1996             2000
                                              %                 %                %                %
                                           (n=1,514)         (n=1,503)        (n=1,026)        (n=1,204)

One (live alone)                              28                35               34                34
Two                                           58                52               51                53
Three or more                                 14                11               14                13
Don’t know/ refused                             -                2                1                 1
Source: Understanding Senior Housing, 1989, 1992, and 1996, and Fixing to Stay, 2000



        There is a strong relationship between age and the number of people in a household. While
respondents age 45 to 54 are nearly as likely to live in a household with two people (41%) as they are
with three or more people (39%), those age 55 to 64 and age 65 to 74 are most likely to live in a two-
person household (59% versus 56%). Respondents age 75 and over are more likely to live by themselves
(52%) than in a household with two (40%) or with three or more (8%) people.

       The higher the annual household income, the less likely respondents are to live alone. Fifty-five
percent of those with incomes less than $12,000 live alone, compared to just 13 percent of those with
household incomes of $44,000 or more. Women (33%) are more apt than men (22%) to live by
themselves, while Hispanics (17%) are less likely than the sample as a whole (28%) to report living alone.
AARP members (59%) are more likely than nonmembers (38%) to live with just one other person.

        Among respondents age 45 and over who do not live alone, more than three-fourths share their
home with a spouse, and almost three in ten live with children or stepchildren. Just four percent report
living with grandchildren, and three percent each indicate they live with their parents or their spouse’s
parents, other relatives, and non-relatives (see Figure 5).




                                                                                                            19
Figure 5: Others Living in Household


Among respondents age 45 and over not living alone (n=1,416) (multiple response permitted)


                   Spouse                                                                        77%

    Children/stepchildren                               29%

           Grandchildren        4%

             Non-relatives      3%

 Parents/spouse's parents       3%

           Other relatives      3%

                         0%          10%   20%        30%     40%        50%   60%       70%    80%


Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000



       The percentage of respondents age 55 and over sharing their home with a spouse has decreased
from 89 percent in 1989 to 79 percent in 2000, with the biggest drop occurring between 1992 and 1996.
However, the percentage of respondents sharing their home with other individual non-relatives has not
changed significantly (see Table 5).

Table 5: Number of Persons in Household
Among respondents age 55 and over not living alone
                                              1989              1992             1996           2000
                                               %                 %                %              %
                                            (n=1,090)          (n=974)         (n=664)         (n=788)
Spouse                                           89              86               80             79
Children/stepchildren                            18              19               21             18
Grandchildren                                     3                 5              6              5
Parents or spouse’s parents                       2                 2              4              2
Siblings or spouse’s siblings                     1                 2              2              -
Other relations                                   2                 2              2              2
Non-relatives                                     2                 2              3              3
Source: Understanding Senior Housing, 1986, 1989, 1992, and 1996, and Fixing to Stay, 2000




                                                                                                         20
        As could be predicted, respondents age 45 to 54 are more likely than older cohorts to report they
share their home with children or stepchildren (45% age 45 to 54; 19% age 55 to 64; 13% age 65 to 74;
20% age 75 and over). Women are more apt than men to share their home with children or stepchildren
(33% versus 26%) and with grandchildren (5% versus 2%). Minorities are also more likely than the
sample as a whole to live with children or stepchildren (44% versus 29%), but they are less likely to live
with a spouse (58% versus 77%). In addition, African Americans (14%) and respondents who are not
high school graduates (11%) are particularly likely to share their home with grandchildren, compared to
the sample as a whole (4%).

        Two in five survey participants (40%) indicate that they are the only person in their household age
45 or over. Almost three in five (58%) say there are two people in their household in this age range,
while just two percent report that there are three or more people age 45 or over living in the household.
Minorities are somewhat more likely than the sample as a whole to say that they are the only person age
45 or over living in their household (51% versus 40%).

Residential Stability

       The residential mobility patterns of older Americans can influence whether their current home or
new residence will need to be modified to meet changing needs.

        Americans age 45 and over do not tend to change residences frequently. Few respondents age 45
or over say that they have lived in their current residence for less than one year, while one in five indicate
they have lived there between one and five years, and nearly one in five have lived there between six and
ten years. Almost one-fourth have lived in their current home between 11 and 20 years, and over a third
(36%) have lived there for more than 20 years (see Figure 6).




                                                                                                            21
Figure 6: Length of Time in Current Residence


Among respondents age 45 and over (n=2,000)


 More than 50 years          2%

      41 to 50 years                         6%

      31 to 40 years                                          11%

      21 to 30 years                                                                 17%

      11 to 20 years                                                                                    23%

       6 to 10 years                                                                 17%

        1 to 5 years                                                                         20%

    Less than 1 year                    5%

                   0%                5%                 10%               15%              20%            25%


Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000



        Little has changed in the length of time that respondents have lived in their current residence since
the study was first conducted in 1986 (see Table 6).

Table 6: Length of Time in Current Residence: 1986 to 2000



Among respondents age 55 and over
                                                1986†           1989            1992          1996            2000
                                              (n=1,500)       (n=1,507)     (n=1,506)       (n=1,026)    (n=1,204)

More than 30 years                                28%           24%             28%              25%          28%
21 to 30 years                                    18            19              19               19           19
11 to 20 years                                    21            22              22               22           19
6 to 10 years                                     13            13              12               13           14
1 to 5 years                                      16            17              16               15           16
Less than 1 year                                   4              4              3                6            4
† The population surveyed in 1986 included only those age 60 and over.




                                                                                                                     22
Source: Understanding Senior Housing, 1986, 1989, 1992, and 1996, and Fixing to Stay, 2000
        Additional results show that residential stability is strongly related to age. Nearly one-third of
respondents age 45 to 54 (31%) have lived in their current residence for five years or less, compared to
12 percent of those age 75 and over. In contrast, just 18 percent of those 45 to 54 say they have lived in
their present home for more than 20 years, while three in five of those age 75 and over (60%) have done
so. Survey participants who rent their home (58%) are much more likely than home owners (19%) to
have lived in their current residence for five years or less.

       When respondents who have lived in their current residence for five years or less are asked for the
main reason for having moved recently, the responses vary greatly. Most frequently mentioned--though
none by more than one in eight respondents--are moving to a better location or neighborhood, moving
because of a job change, and wanting a larger place. Even smaller proportions cite retirement, wanting a
smaller place, wanting to be closer to family, buying a place, or wanting a better or nicer place (see Table
7).

Table 7: Main Reason for Having Moved Recently


Among respondents age 45 and over living in their current residence for five years or less (n=482)

                     Most Frequent Mentions                                %
                     Better location/ better neighborhood                  13
                     Job change                                            10
                     Wanted larger place                                    8
                     Retirement                                             7
                     Wanted smaller place                                   7
                     To be closer to family                                 7
                     Bought a place                                         6
                     Upgrade: wanted better/nicer place                     6
                     Couldn’t afford, bankrupt, less expensive              5
                     Relocated                                              5
                     Divorced or separated                                  5
                     Sold other house                                       5
                     Death or illness                                       5
Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000



                                                                                                         23
       Reasons for moving to a new home vary by age. Respondents age 45 to 54 (15%) and 55 to 64
(10%) are more likely than their older counterparts to report moving due to a job change; respondents
age 55 to 64 (13%) and 65 to 74 (15%) are more likely to say they moved because they retired, and those
age 65 to 74 (15%) and 75 or over (21%) are more likely to move to live closer to family. Participants
age 55 to 64 (11%) tend to move because they want a larger place, but those age 65 and over move
because they want a smaller place (12%).

        African Americans are less likely than the national sample to say a job change spurred them to
move recently (2% versus 10%), but they are more likely to cite wanting to upgrade to a better or nicer
place (18% versus 6%).

PLANS

Desire to Remain in Current Residence

        The survey included several questions designed to examine the desire of survey participants to
remain in their own homes as they age. Most respondents age 45 and over would like to stay in their
current residence as long as possible. Many respondents strongly agree with this statement and more
than one in ten somewhat agree (see Figure 7).

Figure 7: Agreement With Statement: “What I’d really like to do is stay in my current residence
for as long as possible”


Among those age 45 and over (n=2,000)




                          Strongly agree                                Don't know/ refused
                              71%                                               1%
                                                                         Strongly disagree
                                                                               8%



                                                                      Somewhat disagree
                                                                            7%


                                                               Somewhat agree
                                                                   12%

Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000


                                                                                                          24
        The percentage of respondents agreeing with this statement has increased since the question was
last asked, in 1992. When asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement, 84 percent of
respondents age 55 and over agreed with this statement in 1992; 89 percent of respondents age 55 and
over strongly or somewhat agree with the statement in 2000.

         The desire to remain in their current residence for as long as possible becomes more prevalent as
age increases. Seventy-five percent of those age 45 to 54, and 83 percent of those age 55 to 64 strongly
or somewhat agree that they wish to remain in their home as long as possible, while 92 percent of those
age 65 to 74 and nearly all of those age 75 and over (95%) want to do so. In addition, respondents who
have not completed high school (91%) and high school graduates (88%) are more likely than those with
more education (80%) to strongly or somewhat agree with the statement. Those who have lived in their
current residence for more than 20 years (91% more than 20 years; 79% 20 years or less) are also more
likely to strongly or somewhat agree; minority respondents are less likely to strongly or somewhat agree
that they would like to stay in their own homes as they grow older (78% versus 84% national sample).

Expected Changes in Residence

         Given that the large majority of respondents prefer to remain in their current residence for as long
as possible, it is not surprising that more than six in ten think that their current residence is where they
will always live. Almost three in ten say they do not believe they will always live in their current
residence, while seven percent do not know (see Figure 8). Among those who think they may not always
live in their current residence, over one-fourth (26%) have already made plans for where they will live in
the future, but most (72%) have made no such plans.




                                                                                                           25
Figure 8: Expect to Always Live in Current Residence



Among respondents age 45 and over (n=2,000)

                                                                       No
                                                                      29%




                                      Yes                                Don't know
                                      63%                                   7%




Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000



       Nearly three-fourths of respondents age 55 and over think that their current residence is where
they will always live. This is an increase from 1996, when 68 percent of respondents age 55 and over
thought they would always live in their current residence, but it is comparable with the results from the
1989 and 1992 studies (see Table 8).

Table 8: Expected Duration in Current Residence


Among respondents age 55 and over
                                              1989             1992               1996           2000
                                               %                %                  %              %
                                            (n=1,514)        (n=1,507)          (n=1,026)      (n=1,204)

Yes [Expect to always live in current          70               74                    68           73
residence]
No [Do not expect to always live in            22               21                    24           20
current residence]
Don’t know                                      8                5                     8            8
Source: Understanding Senior Housing, 1989, 1992, and 1996, and Fixing to Stay, 2000




                                                                                                            26
        Just over one-fourth of individuals age 55 and over who think they may not always live in their
current residence say they have made plans for where they will live in the future, a result similar to that in
previous waves of this study. Seven in ten have made no plans for where they will live in the future (see
Table 9).

Table 9: Made Plans for Where Will Live in Future: 1989 to 2000



Among respondents age 55 and over who think they may not always live in their current residence
                                              1989              1992              1996              2000
                                               %                 %                 %                 %
                                             (n=438)           (n=389)           (n=328)           (n=329)

Yes                                            24                28                28                27
No                                             76                72                70                69
Don’t know                                       -                 -                2                 3
Source: Understanding Senior Housing, 1989, 1992, and 1996, and Fixing to Stay, 2000



        The expectation of remaining in their current residence increases with age and length of time in
current residence, yet it decreases with annual household income. Forty-eight percent of respondents age
45 to 54 think they will always live in their current residence, compared to 84 percent of those age 75 and
over. Likewise, 49 percent of those who have lived in their current residence for five years or less think
they will always live there, while 79 percent of those living in their current residence for more than 20
years think so. In contrast, 76 percent with annual household incomes of less than $12,000 versus 52
percent with incomes of $44,000 or more believe they will always live in their current residence.
Respondents who live in a multiunit building or single-level residence (66%) are more likely than those
living in a multilevel, single-family unit (58%) to think they will always live in their current home.
Additionally, survey participants who live in the Southwest (69%) or Southeast (67%) are more apt than
those living in the West (59%) or Midwest (57%) to share this view.

        Among those who think they may not always live in their current residence, minorities (35%) are
more likely than the national sample (26%) to say they have made plans for where they will live in the
future.

Residential Preference if Care is Needed

        Most 2000 housing survey respondents would prefer not to move even if they need help caring
for themselves. More than four in five say they would prefer to have help given to them at their current


                                                                                                             27
home, should such assistance become necessary. Only nine percent state they would prefer to move to a
facility where care is provided, and only four percent indicate a preference for moving to a relative’s
home should they need care (see Figure 9).

Figure 9: Preferences if Needed Help Caring for Themselves


Among respondents age 45 and over (n=2,000)
                                                           Move to a relative's
                                                                                Move to a friend's
                                                                 home
                                                                                     home
                                                                  4%
                                                                                     <.5%
                                                                     Move to facility
                                                                      where care is
                                                                       provided
                                                                          9%
                                                                          Don't know
                                                                             4%


                     Have help given at
                       current home
                           82%




Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000



        Preferences remain consistent among the subgroups, although those who have lived in their
current home for five years or less (76%) are less likely than those who have lived there longer (85%) to
express a preference for receiving care in their current home. Married respondents (85%) are more apt
than unmarried respondents (79%) to prefer care in their current residence.



GETTING AROUND THE HOME

Current Mobility Problems

        Functional difficulties can threaten the independence of older adults. Eight percent of respondents
report that they or a member of their household currently have difficulty getting around their home.
There is little variation in this percentage among respondent subgroups, but those who have not
completed high school (13%) are slightly more likely than other educational cohorts (8% high school
graduate; 7% some college; 8% college degree; 6% post-graduate degree) to indicate such difficulty.


                                                                                                        28
        Among those who say they or someone in their household has difficulty getting around their
home, over three in five (62%) indicate they themselves have difficulty. One-fourth (24%) mention their
spouse, and seven percent report a parent has difficulty. Very few indicate that a child (1%), another
relative (4%), or a non-relative (2%) has difficulty. Sixty-three percent report that this person
experiences difficulty often, 25 percent report the person has difficulty sometimes, and 11 percent say the
person rarely has difficulty getting around their home.

        When asked in what way is it difficult to get around the home, respondents are most likely to cite
problems climbing up and down stairs. Other problems mentioned include difficulty walking or lack of
mobility, and specific problems with knees, hips, legs, or arthritis. Some with disabilities use a walker or
cane, or a wheelchair or electric cart (see Table 10).

Table 10: Ways in Which it is Difficult to Get Around Their Home


Among respondents age 45 and over reporting someone in household has difficulty getting around home
(n=159) (multiple response permitted)

                     Most Frequent Mentions                              %
                     Hard to go up/down stairs                           35
                     Specific problem: knee/hip/leg, arthritis           15
                     Difficulty walking/lack of mobility                 15
                     Use walker/cane                                      8
                     Use wheelchair/electric cart                         6
                     Difficulty bathing                                   3
                     Getting up/down from chair or bed                    3
Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000



        Among those who say they or someone in their household has difficulty, one-fourth say that the
condition that makes it difficult to get around the house is arthritis. Thirteen percent report back
problems, and fewer than ten percent cite knee problems or knee replacements. Small percentages
mention wheelchair restrictions, strokes, general lack of mobility, hip problems/hip replacements, and
diabetes (see Table 11).




                                                                                                          29
Table 11: Obstacles to Mobility


Among respondents age 45 and over reporting someone in the household has difficulty getting around home
(n=159) (multiple response permitted)

                     Most Frequent Mentions                             %
                     Arthritis                                          25
                     Back problems                                      13
                     Knee problem or knee replacement                    9
                     In wheelchair                                       7
                     Stroke                                              6
                     General lack of mobility                            6
                     Hip problem/hip replacement                         5
                     Diabetes                                            5
                     Pulmonary disease                                   4
                     Vision problems/blind                               4
                     Need ramp/problem with stairs                       4
                     Amputation                                          3
                     Leg problems/weakness                               3
Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000




Expectation of Future Mobility Problems

         While relatively few respondents report they or a member of their household currently have
difficulty getting around the home, many expect that at least one member of their household will have
such difficulty within the next five years. Nearly one-fourth say that it is very or somewhat likely
someone in the household will have difficulty getting around their home. One-fourth regard this situation
is not too likely, and two in five think it is not at all likely (see Figure 10).




                                                                                                          30
Figure 10: Likelihood of Household Member Having Difficulty Getting Around the Home
within Next Five Years


Among respondents age 45 and over (n=2,000)
                                     Somewhat likely
                                         15%                   Very likely
                                                                  8%
                                                                       Don't know
                                                                          7%




                        Not too likely
                            28%




                                                                  Not at all likely
                                                                       41%



Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000



        As one might expect, respondents who report that someone in their household currently has
difficulty getting around their home are most apt to say it is very or somewhat likely that someone will
have difficulty getting around their home within the next five years (72%). Respondents age 75 and over
(36%) and those who have not completed high school (35%) are also more apt than the national sample
overall (23%) to anticipate that it is very or somewhat likely that someone will have this difficulty in the
future.




                                                                                                          31
HOME MODIFICATIONS

Concerns about Home Modification

      Respondents were asked to rate their concern about eight issues relating to home modification.
Concerns about these issues might prompt respondents to make home modifications—or prevent them
from making as many home modifications as they would like.

         Roughly three in ten respondents say they are very or somewhat concerned about: having a home
that friends or family who have disabilities can get around in (31%), being forced to move to a nursing
home because of trouble getting around in their home (31%), affording home modifications that would
enable them to remain at home (30%), and having problems using features in their house as they get older
(29%). Almost as many are very or somewhat concerned about: finding reliable contractors or handymen
should they need to modify their home (28%) and being able to provide care for a parent or relative in
their home (27%) (see Table 12).

Table 12: Concerns about Home Modification

Among respondents age 45 and over (n=2,000)
                                                        Very      Somewhat     Not Too      Not At All
Home Modification Issue                               Concerned   Concerned   Concerned     Concerned

Having a home that friends or family who may
have disabilities can get around in                      10%         21          25             43
Being forced to move to a nursing home because
you have trouble getting around in your home             16%         15          25             43
The ability to afford home modifications that
would enable you to remain at home                       11%         19          25             44
Having problems using any features in your
house as you get older                                    9%         20          28             42
Finding reliable contractors or handymen should
you need to modify your home                             13%         15          20             51
Being able to provide care for a parent or relative
in your home                                             10%         17          20             52
Being forced to move to another residence
because you have trouble getting around in your
home                                                     11%         14          24             50
Finding information about home modification               6%         15          25             53
Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000




                                                                                                       32
       Of the issues presented, respondents are most likely to be very concerned about being forced to
move to a nursing home because they have trouble getting around their home (16%) and least likely to be
very concerned about finding information about home modification (6%).

        One in five respondents (20%) expresses concern about five or more of these home modification
issues. On the other hand, almost twice as many (37%) indicate they are not too or not at all concerned
about all eight of these issues. Respondents who report that someone has difficulty getting around the
home are more likely than those who do not to say that they are very or somewhat concerned about these
issues. Younger respondents and minorities are also more likely to be very or somewhat concerned about
each of the issues except being forced to move to another home or nursing home. For example, 36
percent of those age 45 to 54 (compared to 18% of those age 75 and over) and 44 percent of minorities
(compared to 30% of the total sample) are very or somewhat concerned about the ability to afford home
modifications that would enable them to remain at home.

        Respondents with less education and those with lower household incomes are also more likely to
indicate they are very concerned about most of these home modification issues. Fifteen percent of
respondents, for example, who have not graduated from high school (compared to 6% of post-graduates)
and 16 percent of those with annual household incomes of less than $12,000 (compared to 8% with
household incomes of $44,000 or more) are very concerned about having problems using features in their
house as they get older.

Ability to Make Home Modifications

        Because of their housing situation, some Americans are not permitted to modify their home.
Therefore, respondents were asked whether they are permitted to change or modify their home to make it
easier for them to inhabit as they grow older.

        Over three-fourths of respondents report they are permitted to modify their home to make it
easier to live there as they grow older. A few respondents say they are permitted to do some things but
not others. Nearly one in five respondents indicate they are not permitted to make changes, while a very
small percentage do not know whether such changes are allowed (see Figure 11).

         As expected, those who rent their home (49%) are much more likely than those who own their
home (14%) to report they are not permitted to make changes or modifications that would make it easier
to live in the home as they grow older. Perhaps because they are less likely to be home owners, minority
respondents (67%) are less likely than the total sample (76%) to say they are permitted to make changes.



                                                                                                       33
Figure 11: Permitted to Make Changes or Modifications to Home


Among respondents age 45 and over (n=2,000)

                                                                    Some things,
                                                                     not others
                                                                        3%




                                                                          No
                                                                         19%

                                Yes
                                76%


                                                                      Don't know
                                                                         3%




Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000



Simple Home Modifications

         All respondents were asked whether they had made any of nine simple changes to their home to
make it easier for them to live in. More than three in five respondents say they plugged in nightlights---or
their home already had nightlights---in dark hallways or the bathroom to reduce the chance of tripping.
Half report they placed---or their home already had---non-skid strips in their bathtub or shower to make it
less slippery. Somewhat fewer have installed or their home already had light bulbs with higher wattage to
help them see better, faucet knobs with levers to make turning water on and off easier, a telephone with
large numbers and letters to make it easier to dial, or double-sided tape to secure carpets and throw rugs.
Respondents are least likely to report they installed, or their home already had, an emergency response
system that automatically notifies proper authorities in case of a medical or fire emergency, doorknobs
with levers to make opening and closing doors easier, or non-slip step strips on their stairs (see Table 13).




                                                                                                          34
Table 13: Simple Home Modifications


Among respondents age 45 and over (n=2,000)
                                                                                     Home
                                                                     Made         Already Had    Modification
                                                                   Modification   Modification    Not Made
Type of Modification
                                                                      (%)             (%)           (%)
Plugged nightlights in dark hallways or the bathroom to reduce
the chance of tripping                                                 60              3             37
Placed non-skid strips in your bathtub or shower to make it less
slippery                                                               44              6             49
Replaced light bulbs with higher wattage to help you see better        31              1             67
Replaced faucet knobs with levers to make turning water on
and off easier                                                         19              6             74
Replaced your telephone with one that has large numbers and
letters to make it easier to dial                                      21              1             78
Used double-sided tape to secure your carpets and throw rugs           17              3             79
Installed an emergency response system that automatically
notifies proper authorities in case of a medical or fire
emergency                                                              13              2             85
Replaced doorknobs with levers to make opening and closing
doors easier                                                           10              4             86
Installed non-slip step strips on your stairs                          10              2             86
Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000



       Slightly more than two in five respondents live in a home with one or two of these simple
modification features that make it easier for them to live there as they grow older. Somewhat fewer live
in a home with three or four of these features, and fewer still have five or more of these features in their
home. However, one in seven respondents lives in a home without any of these modifications (see Figure
12).




                                                                                                           35
Figure 12: Number of Simple Home Modification Features


Among respondents age 45 and over (n=2,000)


                                          14%
         None


                                                                                             41%
   One to two


                                                                       29%
 Three to four


                                                16%
  Five to nine


             0%       5%       10%      15%       20%      25%      30%       35%      40%      45%

Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000



        Respondents who indicate that someone in their household has difficulty getting around their
home (23%) are more likely than others (15%) to live in a residence with five or more simple
modification features. In addition, survey participants age 45 to 54 (15%) and 55 to 64 (17%) are
slightly more likely than those age 65 and over (11%) to live in a home with none of these features, while
those age 75 or over (21%) are somewhat more likely than younger respondents (15%) to live in a home
with five or more features. In particular, respondents age 75 and over, as well as those who have not
graduated from high school, are somewhat more likely than the sample overall to have non-skid strips in
their bathtub or shower (59% age 75 and over; 59% not high school graduate; 50% total sample) and to
have a telephone with large numbers and letters (27% age 75 and over; 33% not high school graduate;
22% total sample). Those with post-graduate degrees (19%) and minorities (21%) are more apt than the
total sample (15%) to have an emergency response system.




                                                                                                        36
Major Home Modifications

        Those respondents who indicated that they are permitted to make modifications to make it easier
for them to live in their home as they get older were also asked whether they had made any of six major
modifications to their home. These respondents are most likely to say they installed (or their home
already had) light switches at the top and bottom of dark stairwells to reduce the chance of tripping. Just
over one-third report making changes or modifications so that they could live on the first floor or their
home already had these modifications. Roughly one-fourth each say they added or already had handrails
on both sides of their steps or stairs and handrails or grab bars in their bathroom for better balance.
Respondents are least likely to indicate they have widened doorways or live in a home with doorways that
are wider than standard or that they added (or their home already had) a ramp or a stair lift in place of
steps or stairs (see Table 14).

Table 14: Major Home Modifications


Among respondents age 45 and over stating they are permitted to make modifications (n=1,628)

                                                                               Home
                                                             Made           Already Had        Modification
                                                           Modification     Modification        Not Made
Type of Modification                                           (%)              (%)                (%)
Installed light switches at the top and bottom of dark
stairwells to reduce the chance of tripping                   24                 16                 59
Made changes or modifications to your home so that you
could live on the first floor                                 14                 20                 65
Added handrails to both sides of your stairs or steps         17                   8                74
Added handrails or grab bars to your bathroom for better
balance                                                       18                   5                77
Widened doorways in your home                                  9                   6                85
Added a ramp or stair lift in place of steps or stairs         4                   1                94
Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000




                                                                                                          37
        One-fifth of the respondents who are allowed to make home modifications live in a home with
three or more of the major modifications presented. An additional fifth live in a home with two major
modification features. Almost one-third of these respondents live in a residence with one such feature,
and the same proportion live in a home with none of these features (see Figure 13).

       Figure 13: Number of Major Home Modification Features



Among respondents age 45 and over who are permitted to make modifications (n=1,628)


                                                                                                    30%
       None


                                                                                                    30%
        One


                                                                      20%
        Two


                                                                      20%
 Three to six


            0%            5%          10%           15%           20%           25%           30%

Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000



        The number of major home modifications present is related to the age of the respondent.
Younger respondents, age 45 to 54 (36%), are more likely than any other age group (30% age 55 to 64;
27% age 65 to 74; 16% age 75 and over) to live in a home without any of these modifications.
Minorities (38%) are more likely than the total sample (30%) to live in a home without these major
modification features. Those age 75 and over (30%) are more likely than any other age group (15% age
45 to 54; 21% age 55 to 64; 22% age 65 to 74) to live in a home with three or more major modifications.
In particular, the likelihood of living in a home with handrails on both sides of the stairs or steps (19%
age 45 to 54; 26% age 55 to 64; 30% age 65 to 74; 35% age 75 and over) and handrails or grab bars in
the bathroom (14% age 45 to 54; 19% age 55 to 64; 27% age 65 to 74; 45% age 75 and over) increases
with age.




                                                                                                          38
The Home Modification Process

        Respondents who have made at least one major or minor home modification were asked about the
home modification process. When asked who decided that they should modify their home, nearly two-
thirds (65%) identify themselves and one-fourth (25%) indicate that their spouse made the decision. Only
a few mention their children (5%), some other relative (5%), a non-relative (3%), or are unable to recall
who made the decision (4%). Respondents age 75 and over (12%) are more likely than younger
respondents (3%) to say their children made the decision.

        Americans age 45 and over obtain information about home modifications from a variety of
sources, however half state that the changes they made were their own idea or just a good idea. Nearly
one in ten say they saw another house with these modifications or an advertisement in a newspaper or
magazine. Fewer report the information came from a modified house they saw on television or that they
saw information about home modification from AARP. One percent mention touring a demonstration
house (see Table 15).

Table 15: Source of Information about Home Modifications


Among respondents age 45 and over who have made at least one home modification
(n=1,689) (multiple response permitted)
                 Source of Information                                 %
                 My own idea/a good idea                               50
                 Personally saw a house that has these modifications    9
                 Saw an ad in a newspaper or magazine                   8
                 Saw a modified house on TV                             6
                 Saw information about home modification from
                 AARP                                                   3
                 Someone else paid (landlord, owner)                    2
                 Toured a demonstration home                            1
                 Used some other source                                 9
                 Respondent did not make modification                   4
                 Don’t know                                            11
                 Refused                                                3
Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000




                                                                                                      39
        Respondents are most likely to report that they treated the home modification as an out-of-pocket
cost or household expense (62%). Eleven percent used personal savings and eight percent used a loan or
second mortgage. Very small percentages of respondents report that the cost of the modifications was
paid by a relative or friend (2%), a community service agency (1%), reverse mortgage (1%), or someone
else, such as a landlord (1%).

        Nearly half of respondents state that these home modifications were done by the respondent or
their spouse. Most of the remainder say the work was done by a home repair company or contractor, a
friend or relative, or a handyman. Very few say the work was done by volunteers or by someone else
(see Table 16).

Table 16: Person Making the Home Modification


Among respondents age 45 and over who have made at least one home modification
(n=1,689) (multiple responses permitted)
                 Home Modification                                     %
                 Respondent and/or spouse                             48
                 Home repair company or contractor                    16
                 Friend or relative                                   14
                 Handyman                                             13
                 Volunteers                                             1
                 Someone else                                           1
                 Other                                                  1
                 Respondent did not make modification                   4
                 Don’t know                                             5
                 Refused                                                4



        Younger respondents are more likely than members of any other age group to say that they or
their spouse did the work (61% age 45 to 54; 49% age 55 to 64; 41% age 65 to 74; 31% age 75 and
over), while those age 75 and over are more likely than younger respondents to have used a handyman
(7% age 45 to 54; 13% age 55 to 64; 15% age 65 to 74; 22% age 75 and over). Unmarried respondents
(21%) are more likely than those who are married (9%) to report the work was done by a friend or
relative.



                                                                                                        40
Effect of Home Modifications

         The goal of many of these home modifications is to increase the ability of respondents to remain
in their homes as they grow older. More than two-thirds of respondents (67%) who have made home
modifications think that these changes will allow them, or other members of their household, to live in
their home longer than they would have been able to otherwise. However, 22 percent do not believe this,
and 9 percent are unsure or do not know whether home modification will allow them to remain in their
homes for a longer period of time.

        Among respondents who think they (or others) will be able to live in their home longer due to
these modifications, three-fourths say the modifications will allow them to live there for another 10 or
more years. Thirteen percent believe they will be able to live in their home for another five years, and a
few think they will allow them to live there for another year. Nearly one in ten responding to this
question are unsure of how much longer they will be able to live in their own home due to such changes
(see Figure 13).

Figure 13: Additional Time in Home


Among respondents age 45 and over who believe that home modifications will allow them/another household
member to remain in their home longer (n=1,128)
                                                   Five years
                                                      13%         One year
                                                                    4%
                                                                        Unsure/
                                                                       Don't know
                                                                          9%




                                      10+ years
                                        75%

Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000



      Respondents reporting someone has difficulty getting around the house are more likely than those
who do not report such difficulties to say they think the changes will allow them to stay in their home


                                                                                                          41
longer (77% versus 66%), as are those who live in a home with major modification features versus those
with minor modifications only (72% versus 58%).. Younger respondents are more likely than older
respondents to believe that the modifications will allow them to live in their home for an additional ten or
more years (81% age 45 to 54; 82% age 55 to 64; 71% age 65 to 74; 58% age 75 and over), while older
respondents are more likely to feel that the modifications will allow them to remain there for an additional
five years (9% age 45 to 54; 10% age 55 to 64; 15% age 65 to 74; 21% age 75 and over).

Reasons for Home Modifications

         Safety is most often cited as a reason for making the home modifications presented in this survey;
seven in ten respondents who have made modifications say a major or minor reason for these changes is
so that their home has better safety features. Nearly as many indicate a major or minor reason they have
made these changes is to make their home easier to use by all members of their family. Over half report a
major or minor reason for making changes is to increase their ability to live independently, to provide
flexibility to adapt to the changing needs of family members, or to upgrade or modernize their home (see
Table 17). Fourteen percent of these respondents, however, do not cite any of these as reasons for
having modified their home.

Table 17: Reasons for Making Home Modifications


Among respondents age 45 and over who have made at least one modification (n=1,689)

                                                  Major          Minor           Not A            Don’t
                                                  Reason         Reason          Reason           Know
Reason for Making Home Modification
                                                   (%)             (%)             (%)             (%)
So your home has better safety features            48               22              23               5
To make your home easier to use by all             43               22              30               4
members of your family
To increase your ability to live independently     40               20              35               4
To provide flexibility to adapt to the changing    33               22              39               5
needs of family members
To upgrade or modernize your home                  30               25              38               6
Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000




                                                                                                          42
        Respondents who have made major modifications are more likely than those who have made only
minor modifications to indicate that each of the reasons presented in the study is a major or minor reason
for having modified their home. For example, the former are more likely to have undertaken a
modification to make their home easier to live in (69% versus 57%) and to increase their ability to live
independently (64% versus 52%). Married respondents are also more likely than those who are not
married to select each of these reasons, with the exception of increasing their ability to live independently.
The likelihood of selecting each of the reasons, except increasing the ability to live independently,
decreases as age increases. Younger respondents are especially likely to report major or minor reasons
for modifying their home are to improve safety features (79% age 45 to 54; 72% age 55 to 64; 68% age
54 to 74; 56% age 75 and over) and ease of use (75% age 45 to 54; 66% age 55 to 64; 58% age 54 to
74; 47% age 75 and over).

Additional Home Modifications

        Eighteen percent of respondents say there are modifications that they know about and have not
done but that would make their home easier to live in. About one in six respondents say modifying their
bathroom by adding a handrail or high toilet would make their home easier to live in. Slightly fewer cite
adding handrails or handgrips or replacing door knobs with levers. Roughly one in ten cite adding a
ramp, chairlift, or elevator, or suggest items to prevent slipping, such as securing or removing rugs or
putting strips on stairs. A few mention that additional lighting or higher watt bulbs would make their
home easier to live in (see Table 18).




                                                                                                           43
Table 18: Home Modifications to Make Home Easier to Live In


Among respondents age 45 and over saying there are additional modifications that would make their home easier
to live in (n=356) (multiple response permitted)

                     Most Frequent Mentions                              %
                     Bathroom: add handrail, high toilet                 16
                     Add handrails/handgrips                             14
                     Replace door knobs with levers                      13
                     Ramp, chairlift, elevator                           11
                     Items to prevent slipping: secure/remove rugs,       9
                     strips on stairs
                     Additional lighting, higher watt bulbs               6
                     Remodel/add a room                                   5
                     Widen doorways, remove door                          4
                     General repairs                                      3
                     Miscellaneous bathroom modification                  3
                     Easier access into house                             3
                     Larger shower/walk-in shower                         3
Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000



        Thirty-five percent of respondents indicating someone in the household has difficulty getting
around the home (compared to 16 % of those who do not)---and 22 percent of those who already have
one of the major home modification features presented in the survey (compared to 13 % of those who do
not)---indicate there are additional modifications they could make that would make their home easier to
live in. In contrast, respondents age 75 and over (86%) are more likely than those age 55 to 64 (77%) or
age 45 to 54 (76%) to say that there are no modifications they could make that would make their home
easier to live in.

        Again, safety appears to be the primary reason that respondents would make these modifications;
slightly more than half of the respondents who indicate there are modifications that would make their
home easier to live in say they would make these changes for safety reasons. Almost two in five say they


                                                                                                          44
would make these changes for comfort or convenience, and just over one-fourth would make them for
greater independence (see Figure 15). Respondents who have lived in their home for more than 20 years
(49%) are more likely than those who have lived there for twenty 20 or less (33%) to make changes for
comfort or convenience.

Figure 15: Reasons for Making Additional Modifications


Among respondents age 45 and over who believe there are additional modifications that would make their home
easier to live in (n=356)



                                                                                            51%
                  Safety



                                                                           38%
 Comfort or convenience



                                                            26%
   Greater independence


                       0%          10%          20%         30%          40%          50%         60%


Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000



        Overwhelmingly, respondents who state there is a home modification that would make their home
easier to live in say they would make these changes for themselves or their spouse (79%). Twenty-six
percent would do so for another family member, while eight percent would do so for friends or visitors.
Since respondents age 45 to 54 are more likely than older respondents to live with someone other than
(or in addition) to their spouse, it is perhaps not surprising that this group is more likely than others to
indicate they would make such changes for another family member (41%). They are also more likely to
consider making the change for friends or visitors (14%). Respondents age 55 to 64 are also more likely
than those age 65 and over to say they would make this change for another family member (19% versus
7%) or for friends or visitors (7% versus 1%). Conversely, almost all respondents age 65 and over would
make such changes for themselves or their spouse (93%).




                                                                                                          45
        When all respondents are asked what single modification or change they would do to make their
current home more livable as they grow older, respondents propose a wide variety of changes. The most
common responses are to add chairlifts, ramps, or elevators; to make changes to bathrooms such as
adding handrails and high toilets; or to add handrails or handgrips. Fewer would make changes that
would allow them to live on one level and remodel or add a room. However, a relatively large
percentage of respondents do not know what changes they would make (see Table 19).

Table 19: Single Modification to Make Home More Livable as Respondent Grows Older


Among respondents age 45 and over (n=2,000)

                     Most Frequent Mentions                           %
                     Chairlift, ramp, elevator                         6
                     Bathroom: add handrail, high toilet               5
                     Add handrails/handgrips                           4
                     Live on one level                                 3
                     Remodel/add a room                                3
                     Miscellaneous bathroom modification               2
                     Replace door knobs with levers                    2
                     Widen doorways, remove doors                      2
                     Larger shower/walk-in shower                      2
                     Change heating/air conditioning system            2
                     None                                             23
                     Don’t know                                       37
Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000




Reasons for Not Making Modifications

        Inability to do it themselves and financial constraints are the primary reasons that respondents
have not modified their home or have not modified it as much as they would like. Roughly one-fourth
say that major or minor reasons they have not made home modifications are: not trusting home
contractors, not knowing how to make the changes, or not having anyone to do the work. Slightly fewer
report that major or minor reasons include: not knowing how to find a good home contractor or
company that does home modifications, aesthetic considerations, and not knowing where to get
information about modifying their home. Just 12 percent say not being able to get to a hardware or home


                                                                                                     46
supply store is a major or minor reason they have not made home modifications (see Table 20). Almost
two in five respondents (39%), however, do not select any of the offered reasons as explanations for not
having modified their home.

Table 20: Reasons for Not Making Home Modifications


Among respondents age 45 and over (n=2,000)
                                                          Major             Minor             Not A
                                                          Reason            Reason            Reason
Reason for Not Making Modifications
                                                            (%)               (%)              (%)
You are unable to do it yourself.                           20                17                60
You cannot afford it.                                       18                18                61
You do not trust home contractors.                          12                17                67
You do not know how to make the changes or
modifications.                                               9                16                72
You do not have anyone to do it for you.                     9                14                74
You do not know how to find a good home contractor or
company that does home modifications.                        8                14                75
You think home modification features and products
would not look nice in your home.                            4                17                76
You do not know where to get information about
modifying your home.                                         5                15                77
You cannot get to a hardware or home supply store.           2                10                85
Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000



        Respondents who have not graduated from high school and those reporting someone has difficulty
getting around the home are more likely than others to cite each of these statements as major or minor
reasons for not having modified their home, except thinking that home modification features would not
look nice in their home. For example, 48 percent of those who have not graduated from high school
(compared to 36 % of those with higher education) and 53 percent of those reporting difficulty getting
around their home (compared to 36 % of those without difficulty) indicate that their own inability to
perform the modification themselves is a major or minor reason for not having modified their home.
Unmarried respondents and minorities are also more likely to select many of these reasons. Not
surprisingly, respondents with annual household incomes of less than $20,000 are more likely than those



                                                                                                       47
with higher incomes to say they cannot afford it (54% versus 33%) and that they do not have anyone to
do it for them (33% versus 22%). Respondents who live in a home with none of the modifications
presented in the survey (55%) are more likely than those whose home has at least one modification (37%)
to say that none of these reasons explain why they have not modified their home.

Interest in Information about Home Modification

        Fifty-two percent of respondents say they are very or somewhat interested in receiving
information about staying in their own home as they get older, but survey participants are somewhat less
likely to be interested in the other types of information presented as options in the survey. Almost one-
third are very or somewhat interested in receiving information about avoiding home repair or home
modification fraud, and nearly as many are interested in information about types of home modifications.
Roughly one of every five respondents say they are very or somewhat interested in information about
finding reliable home improvement contractors, reverse mortgages, or financing home modifications (see
Table 21). Fewer than two in five (38%) have no interest in receiving information about any of these
topics.

Table 21: Interest in Receiving Information about Home Modifications


Among respondents age 45 and over (n=2,000)
                                                  Very        Somewhat         Not Too       Not At All
                                                Interested    Interested      Interested     Interested
Issue Area
                                                  (%)            (%)             (%)            (%)
Staying in your own home as you get older          35             17               8             38
Avoiding home repair or home modification          17             15              11             57
fraud
Types of home modifications                         9             19              11             60
Finding reliable home improvement contractors      10             11              13             66
Learning the facts about a reverse mortgage         9             11               9             69
Financing home modifications                        7             10              11             71
Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000



       Respondents indicating someone has difficulty getting around the home are more likely to be very
or somewhat interested in information about all of these topics. Regardless of age, survey respondents
are equally interested in information about staying in their own home as they grow older; but younger


                                                                                                       48
respondents are more interested than their older counterparts in receiving information about each of the
other topics presented. In particular, younger respondents have more interest in receiving information
about types of home modifications (40% age 45 to 54; 25% age 55 to 64; 19% age 65 to 74; 12% age 75
and over) and in learning about reverse mortgages (32% age 45 to 54; 20% age 55 to 64; 12% age 65 to
74; 6% age 75 and over). Additionally, minorities and those who have lived in their current residence for
five years or less are more likely to be very or somewhat interested in receiving information on all of these
topics, except one: staying in their own home as they get older.

Modification Features in New Homes

       Almost all respondents say that they would like a new home, apartment, or condominium to have
some of the modification features previously discussed in the survey. Most would like a new home to
have non-slip bathroom tiles. Approximately three-fourths each would like one entrance that does not
have any stairs, bathtub grab bars, stair rails on both sides of stairways or steps, or doors that are two
inches wider than average (see Figure 16). Very few (5%) indicate they would like a new home to have
none of these features.

Figure 16: Respondents Liking Modification Features in New Homes


Among Respondents age 45 and over (n=2,000)



          Non-slip bathroom tiles                                                            86%

     One entrance without stairs                                                      77%

                Bathtub grab bars                                                     76%

 Stair rails on both sides of stairs                                                73%

        Doors wider than average                                                    73%

                                   0%   10%   20%   30% 40%     50%    60%    70%    80%    90% 100%



Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000



      The preference for bathtub grab bars increases with age (72% age 45 to 54; 76% age 55 to 64;
80% age 65 to 74; 84% age 75 and over), while younger respondents are more likely to want one



                                                                                                          49
entrance without stairs (82% age 45 to 54; 79% age 55 to 64; 74% age 65 to 74; 70% age 75 and over).
Respondents reporting someone has difficulty getting around the home are more likely than their
counterparts to want bathtub grab bars (88% versus 76%), stair rails on both sides of stairways or steps
(82% versus 72%), and doors that are wider than average (82% versus 72%). Conversely, respondents
who currently live in a home with none of the modifications presented in the survey (16%) are four times
more likely to say they would not want any of these features in a new home than are respondents who
have made at least one modification.

Support for Legislation Regarding Home Modification Features

       Most Americans age 45 and over would support their state passing legislation requiring that more
homes be built with features such as the home modifications described in the survey. Two-thirds of
respondents say they would strongly or somewhat support such legislation (see Figure 17).

Figure 17: Support for State Legislation Requiring Features Such As Those Discussed in Survey


Among respondents age 45 and over (n=2,000)

                               S trongly support                  Unsure/Don't
                                      37%                         know/Refused
                                                                      12%




                                                                       S trongly oppose
                                                                             12%




                                                                 Somewhat oppose
                               Somewhat support                       10%
                                    29%


Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000



        Minorities (81%), respondents indicating someone has difficulty getting around the home (78%),
those who have lived in their current residence for five years or less (71%), and those living in the
Southeast (71%) are more likely than the total sample (66%) to strongly or somewhat support this type
of legislation. However, support for state legislation requiring that more homes be built with these



                                                                                                      50
features declines as education increases (72% high school graduate or less; 66% some college; 58%
college graduate or above).

HOUSING-RELATED FINANICAL ISSUES

Refinancing Homes

        Refinancing a home is one way of paying for home modifications. Twenty-seven percent of
respondents who own their home report they have refinanced or taken out a mortgage against their home
in the past ten years. When offered several possible reasons for having done so, over one-third say they
have refinanced or taken out a mortgage for home maintenance or repairs, and one-fourth have done so
to make home modifications. Fewer indicate they refinanced their home to buy expensive items, like new
cars or second homes, while fewer still have refinanced to meet daily expenses, like food and clothing, or
to pay for health care costs. Still, half of those who have refinanced or mortgaged their home in the past
ten years do not indicate that they refinanced for any of the reasons presented (see Figure 18).

Figure 18: Reasons for Refinancing Home


Among respondents age 45 and over who have refinanced their home in past 10 years (n=458)



 Home maintenance/repairs                                                     35%

         Home modification                                     25%

      To buy expensive item                   13%

     To meet daily expenses         6%

      To pay for health care   2%

       No reasons selected                                                                         49%

                          0%   5%     10%    15%    20%     25%    30%    35%     40%       45%   50%


Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000



       The likelihood of having refinanced a home increases with annual household income, but
decreases with respondent age. Only ten percent of homeowners with annual incomes less than $12,000
have refinanced or taken out a mortgage, but 41 percent of those with household incomes of $44,000 or



                                                                                                         51
more have done so. Thirty-eight percent of homeowners age 45 to 54 report having refinanced,
compared to only nine percent of those age 75 or over. Those who have lived in their current home from
6 to 20 years (34%) are more likely than those who have lived there for 5 years or less (25%) or for more
than 20 years (20%) to have refinanced or taken out a mortgage, as are married homeowners (32%
married; 17% not married) and those living in a single-family home with multiple levels (31% multilevel
residence; 24% single-level residence).

        Among those who have refinanced their home or have taken out a mortgage against their home,
minorities (50%) are more likely than the national sample (35%)---and those who have lived in their
current home for more than 20 years (51%) are more likely than those who have lived there for a shorter
period (28%)---to say they refinanced to obtain funds for home maintenance or repairs.

Reverse Mortgages

All respondents were asked whether they had heard about a reverse mortgage, described as “a loan
against your home that does not have to be paid back for as long as you live there. No repayment is due
until you die, sell your home, or permanently move out.” Half (51%) of respondents maintain that they
have heard of this type of loan. Among those who have, however, only one percent of homeowners
actually have one, and six percent personally know someone who does. One in five respondents without
a reverse mortgage might consider the idea in the future; however, more than three times as many claim
they would not, and the remainder indicate they do not know (see Figure 19).




                                                                                                      52
Figure 19: Would Consider Reverse Mortgages in the Future


Among respondents age 45 and over without a reverse mortgage (n=1,995)

                                                                Don't know
                                                                  13%




                                                                               Yes
                                                                               19%




                                        No
                                       68%




Source: Fixing to Stay, 2000

        Those living in the West (63%) and Northeast (59%) are more likely than those living elsewhere
(52% Midwest; 47% Southwest; 42% southeast) to have heard of reverse mortgages. Respondents age
65 to 74 (63%) are more likely than the total sample (51%)---and married respondents (56%) are more
likely than those who are not married (43%)---to report having heard of this type of loan, while minorities
(31%) are less likely than the national sample (51%) to have heard of this loan. Perhaps not surprisingly,
knowledge of this type of financial arrangement increases sharply with annual household income (29%
less than $12,000; 44% $12,000 to $27,999; 59% $28,000 or more) and education (31% not high school
graduate; 43% high school graduate; 53% some college; 65% college graduate or higher). Interest in
reverse mortgages, however, is higher among respondents age 45 to 54 (27%), those who have lived in
their current home for five years or less (27%), and African Americans (36%) than among the national
sample (19%).

        Respondents to the 1996 “Understanding Senior Housing Study” were asked a similar series of
questions about reverse mortgages. However, the 1996 questions were asked only of homeowners and
defined reverse mortgages slightly differently: “Reverse mortgages let people who are 62 or over turn the
equity in their home into cash without having to sell or move. This loan does not have to be repaid until
the person sells the home, permanently moves out, or dies.” In 1996, almost two-thirds of homeowners



                                                                                                        53
age 50 and over (65%) indicated they had heard of reverse mortgages. Among those who had heard of
this type of financial arrangement, six percent reported knowing someone who had a reverse mortgage
and three percent indicated they had a reverse mortgage. Among homeowners who did not have a
reverse mortgage, almost one-fourth (23%) said they might consider the idea in the future.




                                                                                                      54
CONCLUSIONS

       AARP’s “Fixing to Stay” study identifies emerging housing changes and trends among Americans
age 45 and over. One significant finding is the continuing preference of many respondents to be able to
remain in their own homes as they grow older. Among those age 45 and over, more than four in five say
they would like to stay in their current residence for as long as possible; more than nine in ten people age
65 or over feel this way. Most respondents would prefer not to move even if they need help caring for
themselves. Over four in five say they would prefer to receive help at their current home should this
become necessary.

        Almost two-thirds of respondents believe that their current residence is where they will always
live. Like the desire to remain in their home, this belief increases sharply with age. Just under half of the
respondents age 45 to 54 feel this way, compared to four in five age 65 and over.

       Results suggest that many Americans are modifying their homes and making other simple changes
to make their homes easier to live in. Of those who can make changes, seven in ten report they have
made at least one modification, and nearly nine in ten have made simple changes to their home. The
modifications made most frequently include installing light switches in stairwells, and adding handrails or
grab bars in either the bathroom or on both sides of steps or stairs. Nightlights, non-skid bathtub strips,
and higher wattage light bulbs are the simple changes made most often.

        Two-thirds of those who have made changes or modifications to their home believe these actions
will allow them to live there longer than they would have been able to otherwise. In fact, three-fourths of
those who believe the changes will allow them to live there longer think they will be able to live there for
another ten years or more.

        Nearly one in ten respondents report that someone in their household experiences some difficulty
getting around their home (going up and down stairs is the activity cited most often). Almost one-fourth
of those age 45 and over anticipate that they or someone else in their household will have difficulty
getting around their home in the next five years. In this regard, about three in ten respondents say that, as
they get older, they are very or somewhat concerned about:

•   having a home that friends or family who have disabilities can get around in

•   being forced to move to a nursing home because of trouble getting around their home

•   being able to afford home modifications that will enable them to remain at home

•   having problems using features in their houses, such as stairs and bathtubs



                                                                                                           55
       Not being able to do it themselves and not being able to afford it are cited most often as reasons
why respondents have not modified their home or have not made as many modifications as they would
like. Other reasons selected include not trusting contractors, not knowing how to do the job themselves,
not having anyone to do the job for them, and not knowing how to find a good contractor.

       Finally, two-thirds of Americans age 45 and over strongly support (37%) or somewhat support
(29%) their states passing legislation requiring that more homes be built with features that will allow
people to remain in their own home as they age.




                                                                                                          56
       APPENDIX A: METHODOLOGY AND WEIGHTING PROCEDURES


METHODOLOGY

        The 2000 participants in the “Fixing to Stay” study were reached through random digit dialing
into households throughout the country and were qualified on the basis of age through a screening
question asking how many adults in the household are at least 45 years old. A screening question was
also asked to disqualify persons living in assisted living facilities.

        Because the 2000 survey is the fifth in a series of AARP Understanding Senior Housing Studies,
some of the questions have been trended from previous years. However, these trends should be
interpreted cautiously, taking into account the different survey populations in each study. Overall results
on which respondents differ significantly by age may not be comparable from study to study. The
previous AARP Understanding Senior Housing Studies and their survey populations were as follows:

       1986—interviews with people age 60 and over (n=1,500)
       1989—interviews with people age 55 and over (n=1,514)
       1992—interviews with people age 55 and over (n=1,507)
       1996—interviews with people age 50 and over (n=1,300).

WEIGHTING

        The national survey results have been weighted by gender and age to reflect the distribution of
Americans age 45 and over. Table A-1 presents the distribution of survey responses by age and gender
as well as the weighting factors used to make the responses in each category reflect that group’s share of
the national population age 45 and over. The weighting factors were computed by dividing each group’s
share of the national population by its share of all survey responses that provided age and gender data:

                   (Target proportion ÷ Proportion of responses = Weighting factor)

This age and gender weighting strategy was designed to reliably track data from previous AARP Housing
Studies in 1989, 1992, and 1996 which were also weighted only by age and gender.




                                                                                                        A-1
Table A-1: Number of Respondents and Weighting Scheme


                         Percent     Unweighted    Percent of            Weighted    Percent of
                          of 45+     Responses    Unweighted    Weight   Number of   Weighted
Age/Gender Group        Population    Received    Responses     Factor   Responses   Responses
Men, age 45 to 49         10.14         115          5.75       1.7200     198          9.89
Women, age 45 to 49       10.52         213         10.65       0.9627     205         10.25
Age 45 to 49 subtotal     20.66         328         16.40                  403         20.14
Men, age 50 to 54          8.56         129          6.45       1.2935     167          8.34
Women, age 50 to 54        9.04         219         10.95       0.8047     176          8.81
Age 50 to 54 subtotal     17.60         348         17.40                  343         17.16
Men, age 55 to 59          6.62         122          6.10       1.0584     129          6.46
Women, age 55 to 59        7.17         181          9.05       0.7724     140          6.99
Age 55 to 59 subtotal     13.79         303         15.15                  269         13.45
Men, age 60 to 64          5.29         105          5.25       0.9819     103          5.15
Women, age 60 to 64        5.90         145          7.25       0.7938     115          5.75
Age 60 to 64 subtotal     11.19         250         12.50                  218         10.91
Men, age 65 to 69          4.60          93          4.65       0.9655      90          4.49
Women, age 65 to 69        5.43         155          7.75       0.6828     106          5.29
Age 65 to 69 subtotal     10.03         248         12.40                  196          9.78
Men, age 70 to74           4.11          61          3.05       1.3123      80          4.00
Women, age 70 to 74        5.21         142          7.10       0.7148     102          5.08
Age 70 to 74 subtotal      9.31         203         10.15                  182          9.08
Men, age 75 to 79          3.26          60          3.00       1.0597      64          3.18
Women, age 75 to 79        4.55          87          4.35       1.0200      89          4.44
Age 75 to 79 subtotal      7.81         147          7.35                  153          7.62
Men, age 80 to 84          1.94          27          1.35       1.3993      38          1.89
Women, age 80 to 84        3.20          59          2.95       1.0573      62          3.12
Age 80 to 84 subtotal      5.14          86          4.30                  100          5.01
Men, age 85+               1.33           8          0.40       3.2483      26          1.30
Women, age 85+             3.14          29          1.45       2.1125      61          3.06
Age 85+ subtotal           4.47          37          1.85                   87          4.36
Men, age unknown           0             14          0.70       1.0000      14          0.70
Women, age unknown         0             36          1.80       1.0000      36          1.80
Age unknown subtotal       0             50          2.50                   50          2.50
Men Subtotal              45.85         734         36.70                  908         45.40
Women Subtotal            54.15        1266         63.30                 1092         54.60
Overall Total            100           2000        100                    2000        100


                                                                                            A-2
        The minority sample of 516 African American and Hispanic respondents was weighted and
analyzed independently of the national crosssection. To obtain this sample, the 142 African Americans
and 60 Hispanics from the national crosssection were combined with interviews from oversamples of 150
African Americans and 150 Hispanics. Further, responses from 14 black Hispanics were duplicated to
allow them to be included in analysis of both subgroups. These minority respondents were weighted by
age, gender and race to reflect the national population of African Americans and Hispanics age 45 and
over. Table A-2 presents the distribution of minority sample responses by race, age and gender and
presents the weighting factors used to obtain a nationally representative sample.

Table A-2: Number of Minority Respondents and Minority Weighting Scheme


                           Percent     Unweighted     Percent of              Weighted      Percent of
Race/Age/Gender             of 45+     Responses     Unweighted     Weight    Number of     Weighted
Group                     Population    Received     Responses      Factor    Responses     Responses
African Americans
Men, age 45 to 49            6.60           22          4.26        1.5089         33          6.43
Women, age 45 to 49          7.84           39          7.56        1.0117         39          7.65
Age 45 to 49 subtotal       14.44           61         11.82                       73         14.09
Men, age 50 to 54            4.68           24          4.65        0.9809         24          4.56
Women, age 50 to 54          5.76           37          7.17        0.7828         29          5.61
Age 50 to 54 subtotal       10.44           61         11.82                       53         10.18
Men, age 55 to 59            3.69           16           3.10       1.1587         19           3.59
Women, age 55 to 59          4.72           27           5.23       0.8797         24           4.60
Age 55 to 59 subtotal        8.41           43           8.33                      42           8.20
Men, age 60 to 64            2.99           13           2.52       1.1570         15           2.91
Women, age 60 to 64          3.99           27           5.23       0.7436         20           3.89
Age 60 to 64 subtotal        6.98           40           7.75                      35           6.81
Men, age 65 to 74            4.80           17          3.29        1.4197         24          4.68
Women, age 65 to 74          6.66           44          8.53        0.7616         34          6.49
Age 65 to 74 subtotal       11.46           61         11.82                       58         11.17
Men, age 75+                 2.82            8           1.55       1.7708         14           2.75
Women, age 75+               5.22           22           4.26       1.1941         26           5.09
Age 75+ subtotal             8.04           30           5.81                      40           7.84
Men, age unknown             0               2           0.39       1.0000          2           0.39
Women, age unknown           0               8           1.55       1.0000          8           1.55
Age unknown subtotal         0              10           1.94                      10           1.94
African American
Men Subtotal                25.57         102          19.77                     131          25.32
African American
Women Subtotal              34.20         204          39.53                     180          34.89
                                                                                                  A-3
Table A-2
Number of Minority Respondents and Minority Weighting Scheme (continued)

                         Percent     Unweighted    Percent of            Weighted    Percent of
Race/Age/Gender           of 45+     Responses    Unweighted    Weight   Number of   Weighted
Group                   Population    Received    Responses     Factor   Responses   Responses
Hispanics
Men, age 45 to 49          5.20          26          5.04       1.0063      26          5.07
Women, age 45 to 49        5.19          29          5.62       0.8998      26          5.06
Age 45 to 49 subtotal     10.39          55         10.66                   52         10.13
Men, age 50 to 54          3.78          18          3.49       1.0571      19          3.69
Women, age 50 to 54        3.98          16          3.10       1.2505      20          3.88
Age 50 to 54 subtotal      7.76          34          6.59                   39          7.57
Men, age 55 to 59          2.77          16          3.10       0.8701      14          2.70
Women, age 55 to 59        3.05          15          2.91       1.0214      15          2.97
Age 55 to 59 subtotal      5.81          31          6.01                   29          5.67
Men, age 60 to 64          2.18          19          3.68       0.5781      11          2.13
Women, age 60 to 64        2.52          14          2.71       0.9070      13          2.46
Age 60 to 64 subtotal      4.71          33          6.40                   24          4.59
Men, age 65 to 74          3.16          19          3.68       0.8358      16          3.08
Women, age 65 to 74        3.94          21          4.07       0.9444      20          3.84
Age 65 to 74 subtotal      7.10          40          7.75                   36          6.92
Men, age 75+               1.71           3          0.58       2.8683       9          1.67
Women, age 75+             2.75          11          2.13       1.2561      14          2.68
Age 75+ subtotal           4.46          14          2.71                   22          4.35
Men, age unknown           0              0          0.00       1.0000       0          0.00
Women, age unknown         0              3          0.58       1.0000       3          0.58
Age unknown subtotal       0              3          0.58                    3          0.58
Hispanic Men Subtotal     18.80         101         19.57                   95         18.33
Hispanic
Women Subtotal            21.43         109         21.12                  111         21.47
Overall Total            100            516        100                     516        100




                                                                                            A-4
                     1999 AARP UNDERSTANDING SENIOR HOUSING STUDY
                                  45+ -- POSTED RESULTS
                                     (weighted n = 2,000)



Introduction script:

Hello, my name is _________ and I’m calling on the behalf of AARP (The American Association of Retired
Persons). This is not a sales call; we are conducting a survey that will help us understand important Housing
and Home Modification issues.

This survey is being conducted among persons aged 45 and older.

A.    Are there any members of your household who are at least 45 years old?

                               Yes (CONTINUE)                                                         100%
                               No (THANK AND TERMINATE)


B.    How many people in your household are age 45 years or older?

                               One                                                                     40%
                               Two                                                                     58
                               Three or more                                                            2


(IF ONLY ONE PERSON 45 OR OLDER, ASK TO SPEAK WITH THAT PERSON; IF NOT
AVAILABLE, ARRANGE CALLBACK.)

(IF MORE THAN ONE PERSON 45 OR OLDER, READ:)
According to the research procedure, I need to speak with a male in your household who is 45 or years old
or older. (IF MALE NOT AVAILABE, SPEAK WITH FEMALE.)



(REINTRODUCE, IF NECESSARY)

First, I have a few questions for classification purposes only. This is not a sales call.




                                                                                                    Page B-1
1a.   Which of the following type of home do you live in? (READ CHOICES; IF MORE THAN ONE,
      ASK FOR PRIMARY RESIDENCE.)

      A single-family detached home (SKIP TO Q2)                                       77%
      A multi-unit building (includes apartment, either lowrise or highrise)            9
      A mobile home (SKIP TO Q2)                                                        8
      A semi-detached home like a townhouse or rowhouse, or duplex (SKIP TO Q2)         5
      Other (SKIP TO Q2)                                                                *
      (VOL) Don’t Know                                                                  *
      (VOL) Refused                                                                     *


1b.   Do you live in an assisted living facility? (n=187)

                               Yes (THANK AND TERMINATE)
                               No                                                     100%
                               (VOL) Don’t Know (THANK AND TERMINATE)
                               (VOL) Refuse (THANK AND TERMINATE)


2.    Do you rent or own your major place of residence?

                               Own                                                     85%
                               Rent                                                    14
                               (VOL) Own mobile home, rent space                        1
                               (VOL) Occupy without payment or rent                     *
                               (VOL) Other                                              *
                               (VOL) Don’t Know                                         *
                               (VOL) Refused                                            *


3a.   How long have you lived in your current residence? (READ RANGES ONLY IF NECESSARY)

                               Less than 1 year                                         5%
                               1 to 5 years                                            20
                               6 to 10 years (SKIP TO Q4)                              17
                               11 to 20 years (SKIP TO Q4)                             23
                               21 to 30 years (SKIP TO Q4)                             17
                               31 to 40 years (SKIP TO Q4)                             11
                               41 to 50 years (SKIP TO Q4)                              6
                               Over 50 years (SKIP TO Q4)                               2
                               (VOL) Don’t Know                                         *
                               (VOL) Refused                                            *


* Less than 0.5%.
- No respondents selected this alternative.


                                                                                    Page B-2
3b.   What was the one main reason you moved recently? (n=482)

                              TOP EIGHT MENTIONS
                              Better location/ better neighborhood                             13%
                              Job change                                                       10
                              Wanted larger place                                               8
                              Retirement                                                        7
                              Wanted smaller place                                              7
                              To be closer to family                                            7
                              Bought a place                                                    6
                              Upgrade: wanted better/nicer place                                6


[IF Q1a = 3, SKIP TO Q6]
4.   Do you live in a single-level home, or a home with two or more levels? (n=1,813)

                              Single level (SKIP TO Q6)                                        58%
                              Two or more levels                                               42
                              Other                                                             -
                              (VOL) Don’t Know                                                  *
                              (VOL) Refused                                                     -


5.    Do you have a bathroom on the first floor of your home? (n=762)

                              Yes                                                              88%
                              No                                                               12
                              Other                                                             -
                              (VOL) Don’t Know                                                  -
                              (VOL) Refused                                                     -


Now I’d like to ask you some specific questions about your housing preferences.

6.    Please tell me whether you agree or disagree with the following statement:
      What I’d really like to do is stay in my current residence for as long as possible.
                        IF AGREE: Is that strongly agree or somewhat agree?
                        IF DISAGREE: Is that strongly disagree or somewhat disagree?

                              Strongly Agree                                                   71%
                              Somewhat Agree                                                   12
                              Somewhat Disagree                                                 7
                              Strongly Disagree                                                 8
                              (VOL) Don’t Know                                                  1
                              (VOL) Refused                                                     *




                                                                                            Page B-3
7.    [BLANK]


8.    If you needed help caring for yourself, would you prefer to:

                              Have help given to you at your current home?                            82%
                              Move to a facility where care is provided?                               9
                              Move to a relative’s home?                                               4
                              Move to a friend’s home?                                                 *
                              (VOL) Don’t Know                                                         4
                              (VOL) Refused                                                            1


9a.   Do you think your current residence is where you will always live?

                              Yes (SKIP TO CHECKPOINT BEFORE Q10a)                                    63%
                              No                                                                      29
                              (VOL) Don’t Know                                                         7
                              (VOL) Refused                                                            *


9b.   Have you already made plans for where you will live in the future? (n=734)

                              Yes                                                                     26%
                              No                                                                      72
                              (VOL) Don’t Know                                                         2
                              (VOL) Refused                                                            -


ASK QUESTION 10a ONLY FOR THOSE WHO OWN THEIR OWN HOMES (QUESTION #2 =
“2” or “3”.) OTHERS SKIP TO QUESTION 11.

10a. Have you refinanced your home or taken out a mortgage against your home in the past ten years?
     (n=1,706)

                              Yes                                                                     27%
                              No (SKIP TO Q11)                                                        72
                              (VOL) Don’t Know                                                         *
                              (VOL) Refused                                                            *




                                                                                               Page B-4
10.   Did you refinance or take out a second mortgage for any of the following reasons? (n=458)

                                                                                      (VOL)         (VOL)
                                                             Yes           No          DK            REF
 b.   Home maintenance or repairs                            35%           64           *             *
 c.   Home modification                                      25%           74           1             *
 d.   To buy an expensive item, like a new car or
      second home                                            13%           87            *             *
 e.   To meet daily expenses, like food and clothing          6%           94            *             *
 f.   To pay for health care                                  2%           97            *             *


11.   Now I’d like to ask you a few questions about “reverse” mortgages. A reverse mortgage is a loan
      against your home that does not have to be paid back for as long as you live there. No repayment is
      due until you die, sell your home, or permanently move out. Have you heard of this type of loan
      before?

                              Yes                                                                     51%
                              No (SKIP TO Q13)                                                        48
                              (VOL) Don’t Know (SKIP TO Q13)                                           1
                              (VOL) Refused (SKIP TO Q13)                                              *


[If Q2 = 1, 4, OR 5, SKIP TO Q12b]
12a. Do you yourself have a reverse mortgage? (n=930)

                              Yes                                                                      1%
                              No                                                                      99
                              (VOL) Don’t Know                                                         *
                              (VOL) Refused                                                            *


12b. Do you personally know anyone who has a reverse mortgage? (n=1,026)

                              Yes                                                                      6%
                              No                                                                      94
                              (VOL) Don’t Know                                                         *
                              (VOL) Refused                                                            *




                                                                                                   Page B-5
[IF 12a IS “YES”, SKIP TO Q14]
13. Do you think this is an idea that you might consider in the future? (n=1,995)

                              Yes                                                                       19%
                              No                                                                        68
                              (VOL) Don’t Know                                                          13
                              (VOL) Refused                                                              *


14a. Sometimes people have difficulty getting around their home, like being able to use stairs, bathe safely,
     access the bathroom and toilets, being able to open and get through all doorways, and being able to
     move comfortably between different rooms in the house. Do you, or any member of your household,
     have any difficulty with these or similar types of tasks?

                              Yes                                                                        8%
                              No (SKIP TO Q 14g)                                                        92
                              (VOL) Don’t Know                                                           *
                              (VOL) Refused                                                              -


14b. Is that you or someone else in your household? (n=159)

                              Respondent (SKIP TO 14d)                                                  62%
                              Someone else                                                              38


14c. What is that person’s relationship to you? (READ RESPONSES ONLY IF NECESSARY) (n=61)

                              Spouse                                                                    63%
                              Parent                                                                    18
                              Child                                                                      3
                              Other relative                                                            12
                              A non-relative                                                             4


14d. How frequently do {you/that other person} have difficulty getting around your home? (READ
     RESPONSE CATEGORIES) (n=159)

                              Often                                                                     63%
                              Sometimes                                                                 25
                              Rarely                                                                    11
                              (VOL) Don’t Know                                                           1
                              (VOL) Refused                                                              -




                                                                                                     Page B-6
14e. Can you tell me in what ways it is difficult for {you/that other person} to get around your home?
     (MULTIPLE RESPONSE PERMITTED) (n=159)

                              TOP FIVE MENTIONS
                              Hard to go up/ down stairs                                                  35%
                              Specific problem: knee/hip/leg, arthritis                                   15
                              Difficulty walking/ lack of mobility                                        15
                              Use walker/ cane                                                             8
                              Use wheelchair/ electric cart                                                6


14f. What type of condition or conditions do {you/that other person} have that make it difficult to get
     around your home? (MULTIPLE RESPONSE PERMITTED) (n=159)

                              TOP SIX MENTIONS
                              Arthritis                                                                   25%
                              Back problems                                                               13
                              Knee problem/ knee replacement                                               9
                              In wheelchair                                                                7
                              Stroke                                                                       6
                              General lack of mobility/ hard to get around                                 6


14g. How likely do you think it is that {you or someone else in your household} will have difficulty getting
     around your home within the next five years? Is it….

                              Very Likely                                                                  8%
                              Somewhat Likely                                                             15
                              Not Too Likely                                                              28
                              Not at all Likely                                                           41
                              (VOL) Nobody else lives in the house                                         -
                              (VOL) Don’t Know                                                             7
                              (VOL) Refused                                                                *




                                                                                                    Page B-7
The next section of the survey deals with home modifications. We are going to discuss changes to your
home that allow you to remain independent, prevent accidents, and increase the safety and convenience of
your home. Home modifications include things like adding grab bars, stair rails, lever handles instead of
round doorknobs, and other things that make it easier for you to live in your home as you grow older.

15.   How concerned are you about the following things related to home modification? First (BEGIN
      WITH a, ROTATE ITEMS b THROUGH g. END WITH ITEM h) Are you very concerned,
      somewhat concerned, not too concerned, or not at all concerned about that?

                                                         Very      Somewhat     Not Too    Not at All   (VOL)      (VOL)
                                                       Concerned   Concerned   Concerned   Concerned     DK         REF
a.    The ability to afford home modifications that
      would enable you to remain at home?                11%         19           25          44         1           *
b.    Finding information about home
      modification?                                       6%         15           25          53         1           *
c.    Being able to provide care for a parent or
      relative in your home?                             10%         17           20          52         1           *
d.    Having problems using any features in your
      house as you get older; for example, using
      the stairs, getting safely in and out of your
      bathtub, being able to get to all the rooms in
      your home?                                          9%         20           28          42         1           *
e.    Being forced to move to another residence
      because you have trouble getting around in
      your home?                                         11%         14           24          50         1           *
f.    Being forced to move to a nursing home
      because you have trouble getting around in
      your home?                                         16%         15           25          43         1           *
g.    Finding reliable contractors or handymen
      should you need to modify your home?               13%         15           20          51         1           *
h.    Having a home that friends or family who
      may have disabilities can get around in?           10%         21           25          43         1           *


16a. If you wanted to, are you permitted to make changes or modifications to your home to make it easier
     for you, or someone else, to live in your home as you grow older?

                                 Yes                                                                               76%
                                 (VOL) Can do some things, but not others                                           3
                                 No (READ STATEMENT)                                                               19
                                 (VOL) Don’t Know                                                                   3
                                 (VOL) Refused                                                                      *




                                                                                                                Page B-8
(STATEMENT) Sometimes people are able to make simple changes to their homes.

16.   Have you made any of the following simple changes to your home to make it easier for you to live in?
      Have you: (ROTATE ITEMS)

                                                                               (VOL)
                                                                               Home
                                                                              Already    (VOL)      (VOL)
                                                          Yes         No      Had This    DK         REF
b.    Used double-sided tape to secure your carpets
      and throw rugs?                                     17%        79          3          1          *
c.    Placed non-skid strips in your bathtub or shower
      to make it less slippery?                           44%        49          6          *          -
d.    Replaced light bulbs with higher wattage to help
      you see better?                                     31%        67          1          *          *
e.    Plugged nightlights in dark hallways or the
      bathroom to reduce the chance of tripping?          60%        37          3          -          -
f.    Installed non-slip step strips on your stairs?      10%        86          2          1          1
g.    Replaced your telephone with one that has large
      numbers and letters to make it easier to dial?      21%        78          1          *          -
h.    Replaced faucet knobs with levers to make
      turning water on and off easier?                    19%        74          6          *          -
i.    Replaced doorknobs with levers to make
      opening and closing doors easier?                   10%        86          4          *          -
j.    Installed an emergency response system that
      automatically notifies proper authorities in case
      of a medical or fire emergency?                     13%        85          2          *          *


[IF Q16a = 1, SKIP TO CHECKPOINT BEFORE Q18]
17. Have you made any of the following major modifications to your home to make it easier for you to live
     in? Have you: (ROTATE ITEMS) (n=1,628)

                                                                               (VOL)
                                                                               Home
                                                                              Already    (VOL)      (VOL)
                                                          Yes         No      Had This    DK         REF
a.    Added handrails or grab bars to your bathroom
      for better balance?                                 18%        77          5          *          -
b.    Added handrails to both sides of your stairs or
      steps?                                              17%        74          8          *          *
c.    Added a ramp or a stair lift in place of steps or
      stairs?                                              4%        94          1          *          *
d.    Widened doorways in your home?                       9%        85          6          *          -
e.    Made changes or modifications to your home so
      that you could live on the first floor?             14%        65         20          1          1
f.    Installed light switches at the top and bottom of
      dark stairwells to reduce the chance of tripping?   24%        59         16          1          1


                                                                                                  Page B-9
IF “YES” TO ANY ITEM(S) IN QUESTIONS 16 [excluding 16a] OR 17: ASK QUESTIONS 18, 19,
20, 21 and 22.
IF NO “YESES” TO ALL ITEMS IN QUESTIONS 16 [excluding 16a] AND 17, SKIP TO
QUESTION 23a.


18.   Thinking about the modifications that were made, which person or persons decided that you should
      have these modifications to your home? Was it …. (READ RESPONSES) (CHECK ALL THAT
      APPLY) (n=1,689)

                             You, yourself                                                        65%
                             Your spouse                                                          25
                             Your kids                                                             5
                             A relative of yours                                                   5
                             A non-relative                                                        3
                             Someone else                                                          *
                             (VOL) Don’t Know                                                      4
                             (VOL) Refused                                                         1


19.   What information sources helped you decide on the types of modifications you made to your home?
      Was it that you …. (READ RESPONSES “1” through “6”) (CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)
      (n=1,689)

                             Personally saw a house that has these modifications?                  9%
                             Saw an ad in a newspaper or magazine?                                 8
                             Saw a modified house on TV?                                           6
                             Saw information about home modification from AARP?                    3
                             Toured a demonstration house?                                         1
                             Used some other source                                                9
                             (VOL) My own idea/just a good idea                                   50
                             (VOL) Don’t Know                                                     11
                             (VOL) Refused                                                         3




                                                                                              Page B-10
20.   How did you pay for your home modifications? (CHECK ALL THAT APPLY) (PROBE:) Any
      other method? (n=1,689)

                             Out of pocket/household expense                                         62%
                             Personal savings                                                        11
                             Home equity loan                                                         8
                             Relative or friend paid for the work                                     2
                             Someone else paid (landlord, owner)                                      1
                             The repair was made at no cost by a community (local) service agency     1
                             Reverse Mortgage                                                         1
                             Other                                                                    1
                             (VOL) Don’t Know                                                         6
                             (VOL) Refused                                                            3


21.   Who did the home modifications for you? (CHECK ALL THAT APPLY) (PROBE:) Anyone else?
      (n=1,689)

                             You and/or your spouse                                                  48%
                             Home repair company                                                     16
                             Friend or relative                                                      14
                             Handyman                                                                13
                             Volunteers                                                               1
                             Someone else paid (landlord, owner)                                      1
                             Other                                                                    1
                             (VOL) Don’t Know                                                         5
                             (VOL) Refused                                                            4


22a. Do you believe these modifications will allow you, or other members of your household, to live in your
     home longer than you would have been able to otherwise? (n=1,689)

                             Yes                                                                     67%
                             No (SKIP TO Q22c)                                                       22
                             Unsure (SKIP TO Q22c)                                                    6
                             (VOL) Don’t Know (SKIP TO Q22c)                                          4
                             (VOL) Refused (SKIP TO Q22c)                                             2




                                                                                                 Page B-11
22b. Would you say that these modifications will allow you to live in your home for another year, another
     five years, or ten or more years? (n=1,128)

                              One year                                                                   4%
                              Five years                                                                13
                              Ten or more years                                                         75
                              (VOL) Unsure                                                               5
                              Other                                                                      -
                              (VOL) Don’t Know                                                           4
                              (VOL) Refused                                                              *


22.   Please tell me how much each of the following reasons contributed to your decision to modify your
      home. First, (ROTATE ITEMS) Was that a major reason, a minor reason, or not a reason for
      modifying your home? (n=1,689)

                                                          Major      Minor      Not A      (VOL)      (VOL)
                                                          Reason     Reason     Reason      DK         REF
c.    To upgrade or modernize your home.                   30%        25         38             6        2
d.    To make your home easier to use by all
      members of your family.                              43%        22         30             4        2
e.    So your home has better safety features.             48%        22         23             5        1
f.    To provide flexibility to adapt to the changing
      needs of family members.                             33%        22         39             5        2
g.    To increase your ability to live independently.      40%        20         35             4        1


23a. Are there any modifications that we have mentioned in this interview, or others that you know about,
     that you have not done, but that you think would make your home easier to live in?

                              Yes                                                                       18%
                              No (SKIP TO Q24)                                                          79
                              Unsure of what to do (SKIP TO Q24)                                         1
                              (VOL) Don’t Know (SKIP TO Q24)                                             1
                              (VOL) Refused (SKIP TO Q24)                                                *


23b. What are they? (PROBE FOR SPECIFICS) (MULTIPLE RESPONSE PERMITTED) (n=356)

                              TOP SIX MENTIONS
                              Bathroom: add handrail, high toilet                                       16%
                              Add handrails/handgrips                                                   14
                              Replace door knobs with levers                                            13
                              Chairlift, ramp, elevator                                                 11
                              Items to prevent slipping: secure/remove rugs, strips on stairs            9
                              Additional lighting, larger watt bulbs                                     6




                                                                                                    Page B-12
23c. Why would you make these changes? Would it be for: (READ LIST) (CHECK ALL THAT
     APPLY) (n=356)

                            Safety                                                              51%
                            Comfort or Convenience                                              38
                            Greater independence                                                26
                            Some other reason                                                    2
                            (VOL) Don’t Know                                                     1
                            (VOL) Refused                                                        -


23d. For whom would you make these changes? Would it be for: (READ LIST) (CHECK ALL THAT
     APPLY) (n=356)

                            You or your spouse                                                  79%
                            A family member                                                     26
                            Friends or visitors                                                  8
                            Others                                                               *
                            (VOL) Don’t Know                                                     *
                            (VOL) Refused                                                        *


24.   Now, thinking about as you grow older, what one modification or change would you make to where
      you currently live, to make your home more livable? (PROVIDE ONLY ONE MODIFICATION)

                            TOP FIVE MENTIONS
                            Chairlift, ramp, elevator                                            6%
                            Bathroom: add handrail, high toilet                                  5
                            Add handrails/ handgrips                                             4
                            Live on one level                                                    3
                            Remodel/ add a room                                                  3
                            None                                                                23
                            Don’t know/ refused                                                 37




                                                                                            Page B-13
25.   Now I am going to read you a list of reasons why people sometimes do NOT modify their homes.
      Please tell me how much each one contributed to your decision NOT to modify your home, or NOT to
      modify as many things as you would like. First, (ROTATE ITEMS) Was that a major reason, a
      minor reason, or not a reason for not modifying your home?

                                                         Major     Minor         Not A      (VOL)     (VOL)
                                                         Reason    Reason        Reason      DK        REF
a.    [BLANK]
b.    You cannot afford it.                              18%        18            61            2        1
c.    You do not know how to make the changes or
      modifications.                                       9%       16            72            2        1
d.    You do not know where to get information
      about modifying your home.                           5%       15            77            2        1
e.    You cannot get to a hardware or home supply
      store.                                              2%        10            85            2        1
f.    You are unable to do it yourself.                  20%        17            60            2        1
g.    You do not trust home contractors.                 12%        17            67            3        1
h.    You do not have anyone to do it for you.            9%        14            74            2        1
i.    You do not know how to find a good home
      contractor or company that does home
      modifications.                                       8%       14            75            2        1
j.    You think home modification features and
      products would not look nice in your home.           4%       17            76            2        1


26.   [BLANK]


27.   I am going to read you a list of features that new homes, apartments, or condominiums may have. If
      you were to purchase a new home, would you like it to have: (ROTATE ITEMS)

                                                                                          (VOL)       (VOL)
                                                            Yes             No             DK          REF
 a.   Non-slip bathroom tiles                               86%             12              2           1
 b.   Stair rails on both sides of stairways or steps       73%             24              2           1
 c.   Bathtub grab bars                                     76%             21              2           *
 d.   Doors that are two inches wider than average, so
      wheelchairs can get through                           73%             23              3           *
 e.   One entrance that does not have any stairs            77%             20              2           1




                                                                                                    Page B-14
28.   Please tell me how interested you would be in receiving information on each of the following topics.
      First, (ROTATE ITEMS) would you be very interested, somewhat interested, not too interested, or
      not at all interested in receiving information on that.

                                                       Very      Somewhat      Not Too     Not at All   (VOL)    (VOL)
                                                    Interested   Interested   Interested   Interested    DK       REF
a.    Staying in your own home as you get older       35%          17             8           38         2         *
b.    Types of home modifications                      9%          19            11           60         1         *
c.    Finding reliable home improvement
      contractors                                     10%          11            13           66         *         *
d.    Financing home modifications                     7%          10            11           71         1         *
e.    Learning the facts about a reverse mortgage      9%          11             9           69         1         *
f.    Avoiding home repair or home modification
      fraud                                           17%          15            11           57         1         *


29.   In which state do you live?

                                Northeast                                                                        18%
                                Southeast                                                                        26
                                Midwest                                                                          24
                                Southwest                                                                        19
                                West                                                                             14


30.   Do you support or oppose (INSERT STATE NAME) passing legislation requiring that more homes
      be built with features such as the home modifications that have been described in this survey?
                        FOR SUPPORT: Is that strongly support or somewhat support?
                        FOR OPPOSE: Is that strongly oppose or somewhat oppose?

                                Strongly Support                                                                 37%
                                Somewhat Support                                                                 29
                                Somewhat Oppose                                                                  10
                                Strongly Oppose                                                                  12
                                (VOL) Not Sure                                                                    5
                                (VOL) Don’t Know                                                                  6
                                (VOL) Refused                                                                     1




                                                                                                             Page B-15
We are almost finished.
My final questions are for classification purposes only. I want to again reassure you that your responses to
these will be kept entirely confidential.

31.   Could you tell me your current age?

                              45 to 54 years                                                            37%
                              55 to 64 years                                                            24
                              65 to 74 years                                                            19
                              75 to 84 years                                                            13
                              85 years or older                                                          4
                              (VOL) Refused                                                              3


32a. What is your current marital status?      Are you:

                              Currently married                                                         61%
                              Widowed (SKIP TO Q33)                                                     18
                              Divorced (SKIP TO Q33)                                                    12
                              Separated (SKIP TO Q33)                                                    2
                              Never married (SKIP TO Q33)                                                6
                              (VOL) Don’t Know (SKIP TO Q33)                                             *
                              (VOL) Refused (SKIP TO Q33)                                                1


32b. What is the age of your spouse? (n=1,223)

                              Under 45 years                                                             9%
                              45 to 54 years                                                            32
                              55 to 64 years                                                            27
                              65 to 74 years                                                            19
                              75 to 84 years                                                            10
                              85 years or older                                                          1
                              (VOL) Refused                                                              2


33.   What is the highest level of education you have completed?

                              Some high school or less                                                  11%
                              High school graduate or equivalent                                        31
                              Some college or technical training beyond high school                     24
                              College graduate (4 years)                                                18
                              Post graduate or professional degree                                      14
                              (VOL) Don’t Know                                                           *
                              (VOL) Refused                                                              1




                                                                                                   Page B-16
34.   Which of the following best describes your current employment status? Are you….

                             Employed or self-employed full-time                            42%
                             Employed or self-employed part-time                             8
                             Retired and not working                                        41
                             Other, such as homemaker                                        6
                             Unemployed and looking for work                                 2
                             (VOL) Don’t Know                                                1
                             (VOL) Refused                                                   1


35a. How many people, including yourself, live in your current household?

                             One                                                            28%
                             Two                                                            48
                             Three                                                          12
                             Four                                                            7
                             Five or more                                                    4
                             (VOL) Refused                                                   1


[If TWO people or more:]
35b. Who else lives with you? (DO NOT READ LIST.) (CHECK ALL THAT APPLY.) (PROBE:)
     Anyone else? (n=1,416)

                             Spouse                                                         77%
                             Child/ren or Stepchild/ren                                     29
                             Grandchild/ren                                                  4
                             Parent/s or Spouse’s Parent/s                                   3
                             Other relatives                                                 3
                             Non-relatives                                                   3
                             (VOL) Don’t Know                                                *
                             (VOL) Refused                                                   1


36.   Are you, or is anyone else in your household, a member of AARP?

                             Yes                                                            48%
                             No                                                             50
                             (VOL) Don’t Know                                                1
                             (VOL) Refused                                                   1




                                                                                        Page B-17
37.   Are you of Hispanic, Spanish, or Latino origin or descent?

                              Yes                                                                        3%
                              No                                                                        95
                              (VOL) Don’t Know                                                           1
                              (VOL) Refused                                                              1


38.   What is your race? (READ CATEGORIES)

                              White or Caucasian                                                        87%
                              Black or African American                                                  7
                              American Indian or Alaskan Native                                          2
                              Asian or Pacific Islander                                                  *
                              (VOL) Don’t Know                                                           1
                              (VOL) Refused                                                              2


39.   Finally, just for statistical purposes, please tell me is your current annual HOUSEHOLD income,
      before taxes, over or under $20,000?

                              Less than $8,000                                                           2%
                              $8,000 to less than $12,000                                                5
                              $12,000 to less than $20,000                                              13
                              $20,000 to less than $28,000                                              10
                              $28,000 to less than $36,000                                              10
                              $36,000 to less than $44,000                                               7
                              $44,000 or more                                                           31
                              (VOL) Don’t Know/ Refused                                                 21


Gender (DON’T ASK. JUST RECORD)

                              Male                                                                      45%
                              Female                                                                    55




                                                                                                 Page B-18

				
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